AgScape, a leader in innovative agriculture and food education for educators and students across Ontario, has announced Kylie Cumming, a secondary school teacher from Glengarry County as the recipient of the esteemed Teaching Excellence in Agriculture and Food Education Award.
Sponsored by Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, AgScape’s annual Teaching Excellence in Agriculture and Food Education Award recognizes an Ontario educator who demonstrates an exceptional commitment to integrating agriculture and food topics into the curriculum and empowering youth to become food-literate citizens. The winner receives a $1,500 cash award and a certificate recognizing their meaningful contribution to agriculture and food education in the classroom.
“By sharing her passion, knowledge, and experience in agriculture with students, Kylie Cumming opens a world of opportunity and understanding to her classes,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “And in doing so, she’s introducing students to life-long, rewarding careers in Ontario’s thriving and sustainable agriculture and food industry. For that, she has my appreciation and thanks.”
Rooted in her own rural upbringing on a dairy farm in Glengarry County, Ontario, Cumming exemplifies a profound dedication and commitment to fostering agricultural and food education, bridging the gap between urban and rural communities. As an enthusiastic History, Careers, Civics, French, and Geography teacher at Riverdale Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Ontario, Cumming uses agriculture and food education to open up new worlds to her students, particularly those from marginalized communities who are underrepresented in Canadian agriculture. Her teaching philosophy places a strong emphasis on relational learning, ensuring that each student feels seen, supported, and valued in a safe, inclusive learning environment. By leveraging AgScape’s programs and resources and incorporating agriculture-related class activities and assignments throughout her courses, Cumming helps her students gain an understanding of Ontario’s dynamic agriculture and food system and discover diverse career pathways within the sector.
“This award belongs less to me than it does to my family, my ancestors, and all those who have gone before me, both exceptional farmers and brilliant educators. The award belongs to my students who have shown up day after day with compassion and curiosity, and it belongs to my ancestors who saw their dreams fulfilled in their lifetimes, and especially to those whose dreams would only grow into fruition with the future generations,” said Cumming. “My family and I are so grateful to AgScape and Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show for this honour and encouragement to keep bridging the rural and urban divide – thank you!”
“We know that our educators deserve to be celebrated every day of the year. They go above and beyond to cultivate young minds and shape the future for all of us,” said Mira Lyonblum, Executive Director of AgScape. “There was stiff competition for this award, and on behalf of all of us at AgScape, I am thrilled to congratulate Kylie Cumming. We look forward to working with you and your students for many years to come!”