Since 2019, Luke Silinski has been sharing the same message: the gap between agriculture and computer sciences needs to be addressed. Now his company Ag Tech STEAM is helping bridge that gap through education, with the backing of Farm Credit Canada, Olds College and Lethbridge College. This alone would be noteworthy, but what’s even more impressive is that Silinski is 15 years old.
“Sometimes it’s a half-hour at the kitchen table, sometimes it’s a whole evening dedicated to the project and helping Luke. We find time any way we can,” says Shanyn Silinski, Luke’s mother, who notes that Luke’s father Earl is also involved.
Ag Tech STEAM takes the multi-faceted STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) learning approach and applies it to agri-tech learning. According to Luke, this convergence of topics is nothing new. “I come from a long line of farmers. My dad, grandpa, great-grandpa — farming has been in our family forever and innovation has always been happening,” he says, noting that his great-grandfather was an early adopter of electric lighting on his farm in Manitoba.
Ag Tech STEAM’s website contains what Luke calls “content packs” about science and technology in relation to farm life, covering subjects such as entomology and soil health. A short description of how each topic relates to science, tech, engineering, art and math is followed by an activity to be done “in the field.”
“I want to make sure there is no one gatekeeping this important information on how to care for our land,” Luke says. “I want it to be free and easily accessible for anyone around the world. From a remote community to downtown Calgary, anyone can learn and apply the knowledge.”