Bite of Brant volunteers were awarded a June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism for their work organizing the annual event at a ceremony on Tuesday, September 27.
The award is given out annually by Ontario’s Ministry of Citizenship and Multiculturalism to volunteer organizations and individuals.
Started in 1996, the annual Bite of Brant event focuses on educating students in grades four, five and six from Brantford, Brant County and Six Nations of the Grand River about the agri-food industry.
“We couldn’t do what we do without the dedication of our volunteers,” said Jean Emmott, one of the original organizers of the event. “We have over 100 volunteers that make it possible, from our farmers that come to educate everyone behind the scenes.”
Since its conception, Bite of Brant has welcomed over 22,000 students to learn all about where their food comes from.
“Since 1996, students and educators have gained an appreciation for local food production and healthy eating,” Emmott said, “For 26 years, dedicated Bite of Brant volunteers have shared their time, patience and expertise to present this valuable agriculture awareness program.”
Volunteers at the event include a number of local farmers, educators and representatives from a number of agri-businesses.
Over the years, students have received hands-on experiences during their visits to Bite of Brant including pressing apples to make cider, milking robot cows, grinding wheat into flour to make pizza dough, and observing farm animals and equipment.
“It’s important for us to continue educating students about agriculture,” Emmott said. “It is the number one industry in the County of Brant and we need to inspire the next generation to support local farmers. They are already consumers and are our future decision makers.”
Bite of Brant volunteers were nominated for the award by Colton Oughtred, past president of the Brant County Federation of Agriculture.
In total, 20 volunteers and volunteer organizations were recognized at the ceremony.
The purpose of the award is to recognize, “individuals and groups who have made an exceptional contribution to voluntarism in Ontario. Whether by volunteering their time, efforts, knowledge or resources, citizens from across Ontario are making valuable contributions to the quality of life in their communities and the province.”
Recipients of the award are nominated by community members, before being reviewed and recommended by an independent selection committee.
June Callwood was a journalist, author and social activist. Born in Chatham in 1924, she is a member of the Order of Canada, and the Order of Ontario, and she founded many charities as an advocate for social justice issues that impacted women and children.