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STEM Minds + Boreal Farms

Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Workshops

Our Sector Partner

Boreal Farms is an agri-tech innovation enterprise located in York Region that has provided immersive educational workshops for hundreds of youth across Ontario. Boreal’s day-to-day activities support regional food security through the demonstration of sustainable farming practices and the sharing of knowledge among students and other smallholder farmers, leveraging indoor farming technologies and regenerative farming practices at their ‘liivng lab’ in King City.

In addition to hosting a platform for knowledge transfer, local food and agricultural innovation, Boreal works with a variety of stakeholders in the public and private sectors to support the integration of farming infrastructure into organizations and communities.

SHSM workshop Options:

CEA: Controlled Environment Agriculture

Our full day or half day Agri Tech experiential training program is targeted towards SHSM students on the topics of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) and Indoor Farming Systems. Program delivery will blend theory and hands-on learning activities to provide students with an understanding of the foundations of indoor agriculture through the lenses of science, technology, engineering, design and math. The schedule allows for Six hours of training that involves foundation-building morning presentations and an immersive activity in the afternoon.

Agenda

  • Introduction to Canadian Agriculture History and its relevance within the Canadian economy today
  • Historical overview of agricultural innovations, leading to the globalization of hydroponic farming and vertical farming
  • Foundations of Controlled Environment Agriculture
  • Connecting outdoor environmental conditions with indoor growing equipment and processes
  • Introduction to plant physiology, and their stages of life relative to food and farming outputs and business models
  • Foundations of Indoor Agriculture Design
  • Introduction to various indoor agriculture designs and their core technology components
  • Developing an understanding of the primary components and needs of a vertical hydroponic farm
  • Introduction to operational planning and food safety considerations
  • Short case-study videos that highlight innovative indoor farming businesses, including: Automated Vertical Farm, Greenhouse Robotics and Mushroom Farming Robots.
  • Food and Farming Quiz and Team Table Challenge
  • Build your own tabletop indoor farm for microgreens

(includes pre-cut frame from CNC machine)

  • Immersive AgTech Design Challenge (For Full Day only)
Agri Tech: Agriculture 4.0

Our full day or half day Agri Tech experiential training program is targeted towards SHSM students on the topics of Agriculture 4.0. Program delivery will blend theory and practical learning modules to provide students with an understanding of the next generation of food and farming technology around the world through the lenses of science, technology, engineering, design and math. The schedule allows for Six hours of training that involves foundation-building morning presentations and an immersive activity in the afternoon.

Agenda

  • Food and Farming Quiz and Team Table Challenge / Icebreaker
  • A brief history of agriculture through human history highlighting the key innovations that have led to the globalization of food and farming
  • An overview of the various sectors and sub-sectors across the agricultural value chain
  • An overview of general best practices and activities within each of the sectors and sub-sectors in agri-food
  • AgTech innovations that have transformed industry over the last 10 years – including disruptive technologies being prototyped in industry today
  • Comparing a globalized and interconnected food supply chain and a localized, decentralized food supply chain – including the technologies that make each possible
  • An overview of AgTech hardware / software that can be used at the house or in the classroom
  • Build your own tabletop indoor farm for microgreens

(includes pre-cut frame from CNC machine)

  • Add on kit: Hardware Kit for open-source coding and monitoring environmental conditions
  • Immersive AgTech Design Challenge (For Full day only)
Agri Tech: future of food technology

Our full day or half day Agri Tech experiential training program is targeted towards SHSM students on the topics of Future of Food Technology. Program delivery will blend theory and hands-on learning components to provide students with an understanding of the foundations of technologies and processes being used in the agri-food sector – through the lenses of science, technology, engineering, design and math. The schedule allows for Six hours of training that involves foundation-building morning presentations and an immersive activity in the afternoon.

Agenda

  • Food and Farming Quiz and Team Table Challenge / Icebreaker
  • A brief history of food, farming and food processing throughout the evolution and industrialization of agricultural products
  • Highlighting the key inventions, innovations and processes that support farmers, processors and retailers feed over 8 Billion people globally
  • Technologies and innovation that are leading change across the agri-food sector and their impacts to what, where and how we eat
  • Case studies of advanced food technologies such as: lab grown meats, plant based proteins, insect proteins, mushroom supplements and bioengineering among both plants and animals
  • Reviewing the potential as well as the problems associated with new, innovative food technologies
  • Build your own tabletop indoor farm for microgreens (includes pre-cut frame from CNC machine
  • Add on kit:
  • Immersive AgTech Design Challenge (For Full day only)
Agri Tech: frontiers of sustainable agriculture

Our full day or half day Agri-Innovation experiential training program is targeted towards SHSM students on the topic of Frontiers of Sustainable Agriculture. Program delivery will blend theory and hands-on learning modules to provide students with an understanding of the foundations of sustainable agriculture through the lenses of science, technology, engineering, design and math. The schedule allows for Six hours of training that involves foundation-building morning presentations and an immersive activity in the afternoon.

Agenda

  • Food and Farming Quiz and Team Table Challenge / Icebreaker
  • A brief history of agriculture around the world and its impacts through the lenses of: social impact, environmental impact, economic impact
  • An introduction to the various sectors of agri-food and their associated impacts (crops, cattle, pork, fish, chicken etc.) as in today’s environment
  • An introduction to sustainability targets, innovations and best practices across industries and at both local and global scales
  • Case study examples of new and innovative technologies and processes being used to produce more food with less resources
  • Introduction to the concepts of regenerative farming, permaculture, food forests and associated protocols and technologies that support farmers
  • Focusing in on the plant microbiome and how / why regenerative farmers work for years to build and support healthy, living soils
  • Connecting sustainable agriculture to human health and the Sustainable Development Goals – Including examples from Canadian farmers
  • Build your own tabletop indoor farm for microgreens (includes pre-cut frame from CNC machine
  • Immersive Sustainable Agriculture Design Challenge (For Full day only)
Agri Tech: Local food systems

ur full day or half day Agri Tech experiential training program is targeted towards SHSM students on the topic of Local Food Systems. Program delivery will blend theory and practical learning modules to provide students with an understanding of the basics of local food and farming systems through the lenses of science, technology, engineering, design, social impact and economics. The schedule allows for Six hours of training that involves foundation-building morning presentations and an immersive activity in the afternoon.

Agenda

  • Food and Farming Quiz and Team Table Challenge / Icebreaker
  • An introduction to the history of food and farming in Canada over the last 100 years
  • Introducing the state of globalized agriculture, how it works, why is works and who it impacts
  • Comparing and contrasting the benefits and detriments to the globalized agricultural supply chain as compared to localized food systems
  • A brief introduction to the agri-food value chain in York Region and its impacts locally and globally
  • Understanding what a local food system is – who is involved, what are the activities, what are the values (in the context of York Region)
  • An overview of the technologies that are empowering farmers, families, community organizations and businesses to establish and support local food systems
  • An immersive arcGIS mapping activity to identify and assess local food systems in York Region
  • Immersive Food Systems Design Challenge (For Full day only)

To register a workshop, please send us an email at info@stemminds.com

Frequently Asked Questions:

HOW DOES THE WORKSHOP WORK?

Our Workshops are an opportunity for students to get hands-on with our instructors! Students (and teachers!) will join in-person or live video-call where they get to work collaboratively with their peers and our instructors. Students can join from the classroom or from home. depending on the virtual or in-person option selected.

WHAT PLATFORM IS USED?

We are able to offer our workshops in-person and virtually through Zoom or through Microsoft Teams. If your school/district uses a different video-conferencing platform, please contact us at info@stemminds.com to discuss alternate options

WILL STUDENTS RECEIVE CERTIFICATION?

Yes, we provide certificates to all students who complete our SHSM workshops. In order to create the certificates, we will need a list of student names. All certificates are provided digitally to the organizing teacher who can then distribute the files to students.

HOW MANY STUDENTS CAN PARTICIPATE?

Our workshop pricing is for a maximum of 30 students. If you are looking to work with a larger number of students or to book multiple workshops, please contact us at info@stemminds.com