BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation

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BC Agriculture in the Classroom is Represented By:

  • Agribusiness leaders, nutritionists, dietitians, financial institutions, educators
  • BC Ministry of Agriculture

Executive

Joseph Massie - B.Sc., B.Ed., M.E.T. - President

Born and raised in Chilliwack, BC, Joe has been heavily involved in Agriculture for his entire life. He spent his childhood working and playing on a Dairy farm and later, on a beef cattle hobby farm. He has owned and raised animals and plants all his life. During his youth he was employed by a local greenhouse and worked in the floriculture industry for 8 years.

Joe decided to enter the teaching profession and worked hard to obtain his Science and Education bachelor degrees, as well as his Master’s in Education Technology. Joe currently runs the Agriculture program at Sardis Secondary School in Chilliwack, which includes a working greenhouse and a new Agriculture Learning Centre that includes school gardens, research projects and community supported agriculture gardens. His department works closely with many community members to educate their students on real-world Agriculture issues and opportunities. Joe believes that equipping students with food literacy is essential as they enter the workforce and start to make choices on what food they will eat and feed to their families. He also believes that giving students hands-on experience with food will allow them to expand their knowledge of agriculture as well as food concepts and issues.

Gurinder Cheema - BA., B.Ed., M.Ed - Vice President

Gurinder Cheema is a teacher with the Abbotsford School District and co-owner of Creekside Hothouse. Her work on the family farm and in the agriculture sector inspires her to share her knowledge with her three children and students. As a middle school classroom teacher, she has taught a variety of subjects during her 10 year teaching career, where she integrates concepts of healthy living and local food production and engages her students in debates around sustainable farming practices, the disappearing Agricultural Land Reserve, and environmental impacts of food miles. Mainly, she is concerned about the disconnect between consumers and producers of food, and how the general public seems no longer interested in agriculture and farming in Canada. She believes there are food security and environmental challenges that need to be overcome in the next few decades, and we all need to start thinking about how to produce and consume in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

Iain Sutherland - P.Ag., CCA - Treasurer

Iain was raised on a beef farm in the Kootenays and has carried that experience forward into a very rewarding Agricultural career now spanning 24 years. He worked for over 20 years as a Technical Sales Representative for a number of agricultural feed, chemical, seed and fertilizer companies on Vancouver Island, the Fraser Valley and the Interior regions of BC.

He is currently Agriculture Manager for the BC/Yukon Division at BMO Bank of Montreal, where he oversees the adjudication of loan and credit structure, in addition to providing agricultural expertise and financing guidance directly to farm clients. Iain enjoys collaborating with a diverse group of Agricultural producers and stakeholders and welcomes the opportunity to share his experience through volunteer work. He volunteers with the BC Institute of Agrologists as a mentor for Articling Agrologists, as well as being co-auditor for the Pacific Field Corn Association. Iain also serves as Chair of the Northwest Region Certified Crop Advisor Board as well a being a member of the International Certified Crop Advisor Board. Iain resides in Chilliwack with his wife, and has 3 grown children.


Directors

Sarah Ryall - B.Sc.(Hons)

Sarah Ryall has recently retired from her 18 acre tomato farm, Gipaanda Greenhouses, in Delta. Sarah brings to the Board her experience in business as well as her passion to help people make a direct connection to the food they eat and the people who produce it through education and first hand experiences.

Sydney Massey - M.P.H., R.D. - Director

As Director of Nutrition Education at BC Dairy Association, Sydney contributes to the mission of promoting health in BC through leadership and innovation in nutrition education. This includes developing, evaluating and presenting programs and resources to teachers, health professionals and the general public throughout BC. Sydney brings knowledge about working with BC's school systems to her work with the AITC board and a commitment  to teaching others about the importance of using local foods to maintain a healthy food system.

John Munro - BSc., BEd. - Director

John Munro is an experienced educator with 22 years teaching science. He is also a published author, having contributed to science textbooks and science resources that are widely used in classrooms across British Columbia. Extra curricular roles have included sponsoring school teams at competitions supported by local universities, as well as an after-school horticulture club involving a partnership between his school and the University of the Fraser Valley. Several of John’s students were first introduced to modern agriculture technology through this experience and their newly found interest led to employment on local farms or commercial greenhouses. Others chose further post-secondary study in agriculture courses. He has been recognized for his work both nationally and internationally, being awarded the AMGEN Award for Science Teaching Excellence and the NSTA Shell Science Lab Challenge.

Donna Jack - Director

Donna Jack was born and raised on the Saanich Peninsula, just 20 minutes from Victoria. Donna has deep roots in the agriculture - both her grandparents were farmers and she herself grew up on a farm. Donna and her husband live on a poultry farm, where both broilers and layers are raised. They also have farm gate sales of a variety of flowers, fruits and vegetables that are grown on the farms. In 1984 the family started raising sheep on their farm as a hobby and their son joined the Saanich 4-H Lamb Club. Donna is a leader of the 4-H Club and continues to share as the value of Agriculture education. She has sat on both the District and Regional 4-H councils in a variety of positions. Donna is also a member of the Women's Institute, where she is currently the BCWI Agricultural Convenor. Donna enjoys educating anyone that is interested in agriculture.

Clayton Botkin - B.Sc., P.Ag. - Director

Clayton Botkin has been the Poultry & Regulated Markets Specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture since 2014. He also operates a small business, which he opened in 2009 while in university.  As part of this business, he developed a classroom incubation program and related resources for teachers. He delivered this program successfully in over 50 classrooms in the spring of 2013. Clayton feels that his strong connection to the agriculture sector, knowledge of government programming and engagement with the poultry industry will bring value to the board. He has a special interest in agriculture education and supports BCAITC with his business as a donor and within his network in the agriculture industry. Clayton has worked with other sectors in the past, including cranberries, field vegetables, and other poultry species. He lives on a small, family farm in Delta, where he has a number of exhibition poultry species.

Raman Khatar - M.P.H., R.D. - Director

As Marketing Supervisor and Corporate Dietitian for the Overwaitea Food Group, Raman works to bring health and wellness programs right to your grocery shelf. Raman’s role as a dietitian includes educating on food and nutrition through multiple platforms including print, TV and in-store. Growing up in the Fraser Valley, and being around farms her whole life, has led Raman to have a keen interest in building ties between community, agriculture, health and education. Between working with the UN in villages in Africa, to educating teachers on the importance of nutrition across BC, Raman brings a diverse skillset and knowledge base to the AITC board.

Kurt Bausenhaus, CPA, CA - Director

Kurt is a partner, with more than 35 years of experience, in KPMG’s Agribusiness practice providing Financial Accounting and Advisory services to private companies. Kurt also serves as an active board member of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee and as an active board member of the Abbotsford Community Foundations Abbotsford Agricultural Trust Fund. A significant portion of Kurt’s clientele represent numerous private companies in the agriculture sector, specifically in the feather industry sector (egg layers and broiler operations), greenhouse sector, dairy sector, and berry industry sector. Kurt had also taught various accounting courses as a sessional instructor, for approximately 15 years, at the University of the Fraser Valley campus’ in Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack.

Chantal Keely, B.Sc. - Director

Chantal Keely currently works as a Relationship Manager with Farm Credit Canada in Abbotsford. Growing up on a small farm in northern Saskatchewan inspired her to continue her education in Agriculture. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan and has been working with FCC since her graduation in 2013. During her time at the U of S Chantal volunteered in schools to promote learning about agriculture. Everything to do with agriculture and innovation interests Chantal; she has a passion for learning and helping others. Chantal resides in Mission, BC with her husband and dog Louie, where she enjoys meeting new people, gardening, and spending time outdoors.

 

Executive Director

Pat Tonn, B.H.Ec., B.Ed.

Pat Tonn is the Executive Director for the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation.

Pat has over 20 years of work experience in Youth Development Programs with the BC Ministry of Agriculture, with over 10 years as a manager in the Sector Development team. As Manager, Youth Development Programs she has been a part of a long term partnership with the BC 4-H program particularly focused on the growth and development of youth leadership, and promoting career opportunities and awareness of the BC agriculture industry. During her work time with the Ministry of Agriculture Pat was a member of the BCAITC Board of Directors. She brings additional experience within the BC's education system as a secondary school teacher and holds both a Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Home Economics degree from the University of British Columbia.

"Many students are generations away from the land and understanding the value of agriculture. It is my passion to work with Educators and our Partners to share the agriculture story from the farm to our table. The Board of Directors and staff of the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation are committed to build awareness about BC agriculture through programs, projects and resources. Thanks to Farmers, Growers and Ranchers we can bring the bounty of BC to the classroom. We are excited to cultivate and grow the work of this remarkable BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation."