Canadian teachers gather in Winnipeg for forum on global hunger

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Twelve teachers from across Canada gathered in Winnipeg in November to learn how to better teach their students about hunger.

Food as a human right, the importance of proper nutrition in emergency situations, and comparing the issues around both local and global hunger.

Those were some of the topics explored as part of the first Canadian Foodgrains Bank Teacher’s Forum, from November 21-24.

Twelve teachers from as far west as British Columbia and as far east as Nova Scotia gathered in Winnipeg to learn how to better teach their students about hunger.

“It was amazing to meet people who are so passionate about their students, and particularly about engaging their students on important issues, such as hunger,” says Roberta Gramlich, Foodgrains Bank youth engagement coordinator.

“We wanted to provide teachers with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of global hunger and to explore resources that can be used in their classrooms,” she says.

As part of the forum, the teachers visited Winnipeg Harvest, a local food bank distributor, to compare issues of local and global hunger.

The Foodgrains Bank has a host of resources aimed at teachers and other educators.

Part of the forum also included opportunities for the teachers to give feedback on what worked well for them from these resources, and what needed improvement.

Overall, the event was a great success, says Gramlich.

“The teachers at the forum were really engaged,” she adds. “I am thrilled at how excited everyone was to learn, and to bring back their learnings to their classrooms.”

The participants echo Gramlich’s enthusiasm.

“I have never attended a professional development session where I have felt more welcomed and respected as this one. Our every need was looked after, which is important, but most importantly the constant emphasis seeking our input is invaluable,” said Christine Bullock who teaches at Halifax West High School in Nova Scotia.

Cherri Gerber, a teacher from Okanagan Christian School in Kelowna, B.C., agrees.

“I learned so much from the activities and even more from the speakers. I’m looking forward to both planning and teaching my Foods 11/12 course because I feel that I have a focus for the content you want students to learn,” she says.

“I learned so much from the activities and even more from the speakers,” says Cherri Gerber, a participant of the Teacher’s Forum and a teacher from Okanagan Christian School in Kelowna, B.C.

Other activities included a visit to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, hearing the story of a local Foodgrains Bank supporter whose family had escaped famine in the former Soviet Union, a visit to Winnipeg Harvest (a local food bank distributor), and presentations and discussions about nutrition, climate change as a cause of hunger, and agriculture issues in Canada and Africa.

Foodgrains Bank staff hope to host a second forum in 2018.