Lifelong 4-H member making his mark in ag leadership and education

Global 4-H Networking Summit

Publié le 24 juillet 2017

Saint-Chrysostome native Mathieu Rouleau (far right) recently participated in the Global 4-H Networking Summit in Ottawa as a member of the Quebec delegation.

©TC Média Gracieuseté

There is no denying Saint-Chrysostome native Mathieu Rouleau’s life has been shaped in many ways by his membership in the 4-H movement. From an early start with the Howick club to his latest role as member of the organizing committee for the second Global 4-H Networking Summit, held from July 11-14 in Ottawa, his passion for agriculture and the youth development program is nothing short of inspiring.

The four-day Global 4-H Networking Summit brought together over 500 delegates from 35 countries with the goal of networking but also of tackling some of the broader issues relating to agricultural and social development around the world, from community engagement to science and technology, sustainable agriculture and food security, to the environment and healthy living.

As a member of the signature events committee, Rouleau’s role included organising the evening events, which included a celebration of Canadian Culture in the Grand Hall of the Canadian Museum of History, a High Level Dinner in the company of several Ministers, ambassadors and special guests, a 4-H Night in the Country at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, and the closing 4-H under the Big Top talent showcase, where delegates were encouraged to showcase their own unique talents. During the final evening, it was announced the next Global 4-H Networking Summit would take place in Tanzania in 2020.

Rouleau also participated in a panel discussion reflecting on his experience as a participant in the first Youth Ag Summit in 2013. "I’m just fascinated by different cultures and seeing how we can come together," he says, noting how excited he is for the next Summit to take place in Africa.

"4-H is something that has given so much to me. It holds a very significant place in my heart," says Rouleau, who admits he has no plans to leave the global movement counting over 7 million members in 70 countries. Now working in agricultural finance with Desjardins full time, with weekends often spent on the family farm in Saint-Chrysostome, he admits he is busy, but still considering a leadership role with 4-H in the long term. "The goal is to make sure more countries are partaking in this positive youth development movement," he says, noting how 4-H in Quebec has also evolved over the years to incorporate more projects and activities to attract a range of members.

Farm to School

As busy as Rouleau is, he has recently embarked on an exciting new project as one of three co-founders of the École-o-champ or Farm to School program designed to promote innovative agricultural, nutritional and environmental sciences in school across the province. With a grant from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ), they are working with the UPA and other partners to create educational centres across Quebec.

 "We are working with schools and are developing a network to work with teachers," he says with the goal of creating a program that can be easily integrated into curriculum. The Farm to School program also runs a bilingual summer camp initiative located for the first time this year at Quinn Farm in Île-Perrot for young people between the ages of 6 to 13.

For Rouleau, who keeps close ties with the Valley, it is also important the program makes its way into the region. "There is a plan to bring this to the Haut-Saint-Laurent," he promises.