This September marked our 6th annual #CanolaConnect Harvest Camp. In today’s world of technology and social media, it seems that it’s so easy to be connected. At the same time, we have become increasingly disconnected when it comes to knowing where our food comes from. We want to change that! In our efforts to connect people to farmers who grow their food, Harvest Camp is about learning, listening and, best of all, growing a community. The bonds that we’ve seen formed between our campers and farmers over the years is what’s truly rewarding for us.
We did the math. We go through 17 acres of canola a year at FG. So often as chefs we use product because it's our job. But we forget it's someone's job to produce our product. So today we go full circle with our consumption…. it's harvest time and I'm here to farm @canolaeatwell #canolaconnect #farmerforaday
The first day of camp brought back some of our past alumni to take in some new learning opportunities and reunions between farmers and past campers.
Soil: the foundation of agriculture.
New to camp this year, was a stop at the Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre. Here, we were met by Curtis Cavers and Marla Reikman who truly set the foundation for the learning that was to take place over the course of the weekend.
— Gina Sunderland, RD (@gsunderland) September 8, 2017
We learned so much about our soil’s history, what it means to farmers to take care of their land, and also the future of renewing our soil.
— Shel Zolkewich (@shelzolkewich) September 11, 2017
Technology: then and now.
Technology is always a hot topic with our campers. Bruce Dalgarno is a fourth generation farmer. He and his son Andrew demonstrated to the campers how technology has evolved on the farm. Most importantly, he stressed how advancements in technology are changing agriculture for the better and leaving the land in better shape for his children.
— Canola Growers (@CanolaGrowers) September 8, 2017
Farming is complex!
We are often reminded to celebrate the diversity of farming in Canada. At camp, we are able to share a little bit of the diversity that many campers don’t get to experience (the nearest major city, is 400 km from the farms we visit on our tour). When campers see first-hand the different farms we visit and the many challenges they encounter, it’s not hard to see the complexity that farming is. Dealing with different types of soil, weather conditions, business dynamics, transporation.. to name a few.
Did we mention diversity?
One of the farms we visit each year is Silver Creek Bison Ranch. Campers are always captivated by these majestic animals. Plus, who can resist taking a bison selfie?
When we think about farming, it’s hard to not only think about grains, vegetables, fruits, and livestock. What about bees? The sweetest visit is always at Wendell Estate Honey farm which brings us across the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border.
Passion: where we find common ground
— Emily Richards (@ERiscooking) September 9, 2017
When campers get to literally harvest the wheat that many of them use in their day-to-day business (chefs, home economists, recipe developers etc.), it’s amazing how quickly bonds are made. They often find themselves comparing notes with the farmers and find so many commonalities in how they operate.
Sustainability: the future of farming
Our farmers love to connect with our campers and often get into conversations about the future of farming. Sustainability, education, and technology are often the big topics. How and what they farm are variables in the discussions, but one message remains the same: they want future generations to continue to farm.
Feeling truly grateful for the passionate farmers who feed our people and the incredible circle of life that we all play an important part in. I feel very at home in rural Manitoba — I can't wait to tell you guys all about this life changing experience I've had at Harvest Camp on dailytiramisu.com. #canolaconnect #mediatrip #farming #farmtotable #cattle #foodblogger #community
#EatCanadianFirst: Jenn’s Harvest from the Heart message
We asked campers, farmers and our online community to share their Harvest from the Heart messages over the weekend. Jenn’s message is inspired by past camper, Mairlyn Smith.
The more time I spend learning with and about Canadian farmers, the stronger I feel about supporting them. I choose to #eatcanadianfirst because I trust and support Canadian farm families.
'Eat Canadian first, supplement with global flavours, choose whole foods most, cook at home often, surround your table with meaningful people and always eat more veggies!' ~me @jeniferdyck This is my harvest message from the heart but it's also my personal food philosophy that I have been shaping while on my own food learning journey. This past weekend I had the privelege of attending my 6th #canolaconnect Harvest Camp. Each year farm families stop (yes, stop) harvest to share their farm stories, to answer questions, to give combine rides and to share a meal with us. They open their gates, their minds, their doors and their hearts. I'm forever grateful for this opportunity each year. My world has been forever changed. Thank you! The more time I spend learning with and about Canadian farmers, the stronger I feel about supporting them. I choose to #eatcanadianfirst because I trust and support Canadian farm families. Do you? Tell me about more… What's your Harvest message from the 💛 for Canadian farmers?
We have a feeling many of our campers went home feeling the same way.
What’s your Harvest from the Heart message? Tell us online #CanolaConnect or in the comments below!