Women of the Earth

A prestigious award handed out to 3 Canadian Women

2nd Prize Winner

http://www.greenlivingonline.com/sites/default/files/2-Karen campbell.jpgKaren Campbell has been running the Everdale Environmental Learning Centre for close to 13 years. The Centre is both an organic farm and an environmental and agricultural learning centre. Located in Hillsburg, Ontario, this unique place has given itself the mission of promoting sustainable, environmentally friendly living practices and educating young and old alike about farming and food issues. Her initiative also encourages relationships between farmers, consumers and the environment.

Dedicated to teaching environmental farming methods for 20 years, Karen is taking concrete action to raise children’s awareness and understanding of agriculture and to help them develop a taste for it. Karen has been successfully running the Farmer for a Day Program since 2002. Each year, hundreds of children attend an “outdoor class” on the Everdale farm to discover how the products they consume are grown and to learn about the importance of eating healthy. They meet farmers and talk to them and spend time with the farm animals.

In 2009, Karen decided to round out her program by launching the Farmers in the Schools initiative. In this case, it’s not the children who go to the farm, it’s the farm that goes to the children! Farmers, trained by Everdale, visit primary schools and share their experiences in and knowledge of the world of agriculture. They are trying to pique the children’s curiosity by getting them to think about issues such as food, plants, animals and their relationships to their community.

The positive impacts of this initiative can be seen on several levels: the farmers are given a complete training course that prepares them to become veritable educators. Confident and well trained, they are ready to share their passion for their job with the children by giving them a positive opinion of the world of agriculture. The farmers involved in this program also benefit from an additional source of non-seasonal income. As for the schoolchildren, they are enhancing their education, acquiring a true awareness of the environment, and gaining a better appreciation for locally grown products.

Lastly, through all of her initiatives at Everdale, Karen is encouraging an approach that is sustainable and respectful of the environment, agriculture, individuals and society. She is also helping to inspire some of these children to become the environmentally friendly farmers of the future!