Altario School celebrates Ag program success

As with keeping to the indiginous roots of the area, a teepee was erected where Elder Russell Joseph was stationed to visit with those who entered. ECA Review/T.Huxley
Written by Terri Huxley

Altario School brought the party on Mon. April 4 as a community-wide celebration over the success of the Agricultural program provided over the last couple of years.

It has since grown to become a pillar of Altario, proudly putting the hamlet in Special Areas No. 4 on the map.

What started out as a humble program for students to experience agriculture in the sense of providing for livestock has turned into so much more.

The program has expanded to include a Growcer food modular that grows hydroponic produce, The Hive school store and more.

The Growcer, once fully operational this week, will be able to support up to 150 families with fresh produce year-round.

Paul Pospisil was instrumental in securing a large portion of the funding for this endeavour.

The KAC (Kirriemuir, Altario, Compeer) Agriculture Society also donated significantly to the Growcer portion of the agriculture program.

The Hive sells products from Altario’s school farm, from student entrepreneurs and from local micro-businesses. 

On Monday, The Hive sold over $2,000 in products.

A Ukrainian dinner was held for over 200 people that attended.

Local, recent Ukrainian immigrants to the Altario community prepared this dinner and all proceeds will be used to support their families back home in the Ukraine.

They collected close to $4,000 for this cause.

There was also a strong aboriginal component to this celebratory event as First Nations Elders, family and friends were invited to share their wisdom and take part in dancing, prayers, tipi raising and singing.

Altario also received a Cree Name for the Agricultural program: Mule Deer Haven Hills (jimy-uz apsymosis wa-chees).

Elder Russell Joseph led this process.

“It was such an honour to receive this name,” stated Altario School Principal Kevin Van Lagen.

“The celebration was an amazing example of what happens when a community comes together and unites around a common purpose and vision. Rural education is so powerful when the community is infused into the local school.”

In the spirit of truth and reconciliation, the school acknowledged that the land on which it sits was marked by the footsteps of the many First Nations, Metis, and Inuit who came before.

The day ended with a Round Dance.

First Nations elders and youth, new immigrants, and generational Canadians of all ages held hands and in a spirit of friendship and joy, marked the end of the day.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.