Rick Block believes that youth are the key to the sustainability of the agriculture industry. This belief is reflected in his commitment to agriculture education and passion for promoting stewardship.
After graduating from University with a Master’s in Soil Science (the study of soil as a natural resource) in 2004, Rick worked in two term positions at a University and with a provincial Ministry of Agriculture. He later served as a program manager for Heifer International, whose work is to improve community food security. In 2010, he and his family embarked on a four-year volunteer mission to Mexico, working with community groups on agricultural and food development.
When Rick returned to Canada in 2014, he jumped at the opportunity to work with Agriculture in the Classroom - Saskatchewan (AITC-SK), a member of Agriculture in the Classroom Canada. The organization provides innovative, curriculum-based programs and resources to help increase students' awareness and understanding of agriculture. Rick is the director of Little Green Thumbs, an indoor gardening program that helps students better understand agriculture on a larger scale.
Rick notes that children often don’t know how food is grown, but the classroom gardens help them to develop a deeper understanding of food through first-hand experience. Guided by their teacher, students work as a team to plant, care for and harvest the garden. The garden in the classroom is representative of the diversity of agricultural activity, big and small, in rural and urban areas, and is an effective tool to help children realize that it is the joint effort of all growers that helps feed the world.
Rick’s passion is to promote sustainability and stewardship of the land. Although he learned some of these concepts growing up on a small farm, many students don’t have this opportunity.
By providing students with accurate and balanced agricultural information, Rick is helping them plant the seeds of success.