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Youth encouraged to join new agriculture council

The charitable organization Agriculture for Life is currently looking for young people to fill positions on its new Agriculture Youth Council. CEO Luree Williamson said she hopes some young Rocky View County residents will consider joining.
Agriculture Eductation
Agriculture for Life has recently formed the Agriculture Youth Council as a way to garner feedback from young Albertans about what interests them and their peers, and encourages youth to apply for one of the council’s spots.

The charitable organization Agriculture for Life is currently looking for young people to fill positions on its new Agriculture Youth Council. CEO Luree Williamson said she hopes some young Rocky View County residents will consider joining. “We’re putting together a newly-formed youth council,” she said. “We’re inviting Alberta youth aged 16 to 21 to join.” According to Williamson, the organization hopes the youth council will provide insights into what students want from the programs Agriculture for Life delivers. The organization is mandated to provide agriculture education and farm safety programs to youth, and travels throughout the province, working with school and community groups, to that end. Promoting agriculture education among youth is important, Williamson said, because agriculture is part of everyone’s lives – regardless of where they live. “Everyone eats. Everyone buys food,” she said. “Agriculture touches all of our lives, and we feel that it’s important for people to be aware of food production, aware of where their food comes from.” As the organization works to spread this message across the province, Williamson said, Agriculture for Life decided it would be beneficial to bring some young voices to the table to inform the process. “We thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a youth council where we have members from across Alberta that can pilot our programs, they can give us some feedback,” Williamson said. “It’s very important to get their feedback.” According to Williamson, the organization sees the new youth council as an invaluable resource, allowing a glimpse into the minds of young people when it comes to agriculture education. Williamson said she is hopeful the handful of youth involved will be able to direct the organization towards the types of programs that interest them and their peers. “We, as adults, can assume what the message is that students want to hear, but we don’t know anymore,” Williamson said. The youth council will be comprised of eight to twelve members, and Williamson said the organization is looking for a diverse group. “Whether you come from an agriculture background or you don’t, we would like to have both perspectives,” Williamson said. “A mix of urban and rural students would be fantastic.” Students will have an opportunity to learn more about agriculture and to try out some of the organization’s new programs before they are open to the public. Williamson said she also wants the council to be an opportunity for students to develop leadership skills, meet new people and network with industry professionals. She added that the council will not be a tremendous time commitment, as the organization is sensitive to the busy lives of teenagers. Council members will meet twice a year – either in person or via technological means – and will be expected to take part in a maximum of three Agriculture for Life events during the one-year term. Applications will be accepted until Sept. 17. Interested students can apply at agricultureforlife.ca/agyouthcouncil “Don’t be shy to apply,” Williamson said. “We are looking for a diverse group, and I think it’s a great opportunity for people to be active and perhaps learn more about agriculture or share some of their knowledge.”