The following post is brought to us from #CanolaConnect Be Well Camp Alumni Carol Harrison.
It started with a happy dance one summer morning in my kitchen that set off my pint-sized dog jumping and barking.
I got an email asking to join fellow food writers and media on a #canolaconnect farm trek across western Manitoba on behalf of the Manitoba Canola Growers.
Our group immediately connected with farmers over meals featuring local food and conversations about farming.
A highlight was meeting the farmers. Our stops included a mixed grain farm, cattle farm, grain elevator, bison ranch, honey farm and Saskatoon berry farm.
I was impressed as always by farmers’ commitment to constantly improve and what that entails: calculated business risks, keep up with soil/crop science and new ways technology can help them to work smarter or more sustainably. Bruce Dalgarno, featured here is experimenting with growing quinoa. Canadian grown quinoa, you heard it first from me!
Well, it was a weekend of firsts. I got to:
- Ride a combine;
- Visit a grain elevator;
- Sample world class honey;
- Walk amongst bison (if their tail goes up, it’s not wagging, just start praying is all I’m sayin’);
- Dine tail-gate style on the prairies eating bison burgers;
- Savour tart Saskatoon berry pie…and OK truth be told, more pie with a darn good canola crust.
I won’t soon forget hiking at 6am in bear country with fellow RD, cabin-mate and food writer, Dara Gurau. Once deep into the woods our animal instincts told us it was time to get the hell out of there. It took much less time walk back to the cabin I noticed!
My whirlwind eating frenzy and farm tour ended with gratitude and appreciation for farmers. It may sound sappy but being welcomed into their home to eat with their family, listen to their joys and struggles, find out how they produce food, care for the land and their animals, changes you.
My big take away: Consumers expect dietitians to know how our food is produced and the best place to find answers I’ve found is push past the literature and ask a farmer.
Be Well…Carol Harrison
Everyday ideas to make healthy eating awesome & easy. Food & Nutrition Expert for Media. Food Revolution Day Ambassador. TOStar The Dish contributor. Writer. RD