A tireless advocate for agriculture and youth, Johanne Ross has dedicated her more than 20-year career to delivering agricultural education into classrooms across Canada. Her genuine passion, natural leadership and unending enthusiasm as the executive director of Agriculture in the Classroom-Canada (AITC-C) is helping students and educators connect to and appreciate the exciting and innovative field of agriculture and food.
Born in Brandon, Manitoba, Johanne began her career in agriculture education as executive director of Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba. It was the beginning of her mission to build a vibrant Canadian network that would bring agriculture learning to classrooms from coast to coast. In 2016, Johanne became the inaugural executive director of AITC-C and has gone on to grow the organization to 10 full-time staff, delivering programming in all 10 provinces.
As the lead voice for agricultural education in Canada, Johanne’s organization delivers accurate, balanced and current curriculum-linked information about the amazing agri-food system. AITC-C has an exciting vision to bring agriculture into every classroom, inspiring every student. With Johanne’s dedication, determination and passion, the organization is well on its way. In 2020, AITC-C reached 2.1 million students, from kindergarten to Grade 12, through the work of more than 7,500 volunteers and more than 63,000 teachers.
With a whole country of students to reach, Johanne understands the importance of making connections and building effective, respective partnerships. She led the effort in securing funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to develop and expand AITC-C’s work nationally. She spearheaded a process to develop a national impact framework for agriculture education. Under her leadership, AITC-C has developed and expanded countless initiatives including Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month, thinkAG—a Canada-wide career initiative to help students get curious about career opportunities in agriculture and food, and the Curriculum Connected Resource Matrix—an online resource bank for Canadian educators.
Johanne continues to break new ground to build a strong agriculture literacy offering in Canada that delivers unique, relevant and inquiry-based educational experiences for all grade levels. She’s ensured the development of interactive programs and resources that are embraced by urban and rural educators, while inspiring curiosity, critical thinking and lifelong learning for Canada’s agriculture and food story.
Her contributions to Canadian agriculture have been honoured with a YWCA Women of Distinction for Agriculture Award and an Agricultural Awareness Award by the Manitoba Farm Writers and Broadcasters Association. She’s a proud community booster where she lives and farms with her family near Minnedosa, Manitoba, and has served on numerous boards including 4-H, the Canadian Agri-Business Education Foundation and Assiniboine Community College.
Johanne Ross brings her genuine passion and enthusiasm to champion agriculture education across Canada by creating meaningful connections to agriculture and food for both educators and students of all ages and diversities.