Reflecting on #CanolaConnect Harvest Camp

Remember the feeling you had the night before summer camp? A little nervous. A tad scared. What if they make me eat something I don’t like? What if I don’t make new friends? These thoughts turn into butterflies in your belly as you try to fall asleep, but you just can’t. Suddenly, you wake up and realize that those thoughts took you into a deep, restful sleep, and now, it’s morning. Today’s the day! I. love. CAMP!

There was always a theme at summer camp. Usually something about pushing our boundaries and trying at least one new thing. We were promised that being open-minded and willing would take us on a life-changing adventure.

Well, what I’ve learned after four years of our #CanolaConnect Harvest Camp is that we, as adults, don’t often get these opportunities and hence, why I LOVE CAMP. Camp is a magical place. Something about being in a group of strangers and even getting assigned a roomie brings back the camp kid in all of us (the campfire and s’mores help too).

What were some of themes that came out of #CanolaConnect Harvest Camp 2015?

1. Passion

Passionate food writers, chefs, RDs and friends, meet: farmers. They might just be among the most passionate people on the planet and it’s why we love working with them.

2. Hard Work

It quickly became clear to all of us just how much work goes into farming. Round-the-clock watch over the barn in calving season, late nights on the combine at harvest time and well, bees, hard work is all they know!

 

A new stop on our camp tour this year was Mayfair Farms who grow vegetables in Portage La Prairie.

Every summer, Mayfair and other farms hire foreign workers through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). Todd Giffin of Mayfair Farms attributes much of its success to the program. These workers come ready to work and return as great providers to their families in Mexico in the winter.

3. Family

To put into perspective the care farmers put into the food they grow, I just think about my own family. Would I feed them something that isn’t safe? Neither would farmers their own families.

Meet Tim & Izzy Wendell's girls! #canolaconnect #creamedhoney

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4. Change

Advances in technology have allowed farmers to not only be more efficient, but to also better care for the land. As farmer Bruce Dalgarno demonstrated to us, the amount of herbicide sprayed on his crops 20 years ago has been reduced dramatically. In addition, with less need to cultivate his soil multiple times a season, the soil is less disrupted causing far less erosion than he recalls decades ago.

Change is good.

Food waste became a hot topic at this year’s #CanolaConnect. What can we, as consumers, do to change that?

5. Connections

When we connect, we understand each other better. Our farm memories are fading. With only 2% of Canadians farming today, talking with farmers and gaining a better understanding of the Canadian agriculture industry is what will rebuild our #FarmtoFood connection.

Lunch on the field at #CanolaConnect! ##manitoba #exploremb

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It’s safe to say that our #CanolaConnect alumni have become like family to us. Some were able to join us for lunch at Mayfair Farms, while others reached out with advice to the new campers online!

6. Gratitude

At each of the stops, there was certainly something to be grateful for. We are grateful to the campers for being in the moment at any given time and willing to learn.

Field of dreams at the Orsak farm. #canolaconnect #gojaysgo

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Reflecting on new experiences. #canolaconnect #sunglasses #farmlife #grateful #farmtofood

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We are grateful to the farmers who take great pride in their land and work hard to grow/raise healthy food for all of us.

. . .

Eat well… Jenn

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