Sandy Piette, manager Keswick RBC branch presented a $100,000 cheque to Annabel Slaight, Chair, Ontario Water Centre on Saturday, November 26, 2016. The presentation opened the ClearWater Barn Exhibit which featured young people seven to 14 presenting their ideas about the future of the burned barn to a panel including Georgina Mayor Margaret Quirk.
The grant from Royal Bank of Canada Foundation will help the Ontario Water Centre develop/kickstart a program to grow “Young Agri-preneurs” at ClearWater Farm — empowering youth with leadership potential to work WITH nature to shape a future based on greater understanding and caring about the connections between food and water, land and the community. The “Young Agri-preneurs” program will be enrichment for students in Grades 6 through 10 — youth in their most impressionable years as they think ahead to their future.
In the best practices of community-connected experiential learning, participants in the Young Agri-preneurs program would be engaged as active participants in developing what they want to learn about and how they will apply their learning in their own lives. With youth input, specific programming over a year would be designed and delivered by experts in the field of adolescent experiential education to maximize empowerment through authenticity, and sense of purpose steeped in a sense of place.
The backdrop for learning would be a regenerative agriculture methodology embodied at ClearWater that uses nature’s own systems to regenerate the land leaving the ecosystem more robust than before farming took place.
First hand experience will immerse the young agri-preneurs in the evolving food system with its multiple layers and value chains, including interaction between agricultural strategies from cooking to marketing to food security, and the relationship of all to environment/climate change.