“When we learn together, we grow together”
This has been a motto for our #CanolaConnect Harvest Camp since the beginning. This September was the 7th year in which we brought together a group of mainly urban-based Canadians to connect with farmers who grow the food we eat. Harvest Camp is about learning, listening and, best of all, growing a community.
Conversation and having open dialogue about food and farming is what camp is all about. We wanted to share with you some of the quotes that came from this year’s camp!
Food binds us. When we share a meal, we share stories around the table.
– Camper and Toronto-based restauranteur, Trevor Lui.
This could not be more true! It’s often the conversations that occur around the table that develop into the strongest connections between campers and between farm leaders and campers.
Soil is the foundation of agriculture and managing soil health is a long term sustainability plan.
– Soil Scientist, Marla Riekman
Campers learned a great deal about soil and its variable composition. What one farmer is dealing with in terms of soil issues may be completely different at a neighbouring farm.
We want to leave the land in better condition for the next generation to continue to farm and grow food.
– Bruce Dalgarno, 5th generation farmer
The biggest take-away at the Dalgarno and Orsak farms is what it means to farmers to take care of their land. We learned how farming practices and technology on the farm have drastically improved soil conditions over the past 30 years. Farmers continue to seek improvements in how they operate, for the benefit of their soil.
Meeting farmers reminds me of why I do what I do everyday
Scientist and Associate Professor, Mark Belmonte
This year, we had a few campers with us who didn’t necessarily fit the “urban foodie/health professional” profile of many of our past campers. We brought along three scientists, two of which research canola in particular. This was a connection that was truly something we didn’t expect, but having the scientists actually meet farmers that apply the technologies that they develop gave them a much greater connection to why they do the work that they do.
We handle our cattle quietly and calmly as to not stress them out. Happy animals are healthy animals.
– cattle farmer, Donna Jackson
Myth-busting is something the Jackson family does very well. With many misconceptions in the beef industry, campers had a lot of questions for Donna, Carman and their daughters. Bringing campers to their cattle farm, which is like most across the country, shed some light into how what you see and hear in the media might not be true, when it comes to farming. It’s important that we learn to be critical thinkers and, when in doubt, #askafarmer!
Without farmers, we don’t have bees. Canola is the bread and butter of the honey production.
– Nathan Wendell, Wendell Estate Honey
Located just over the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border, Wendell Estate honey is a honey farm that relies on over 100 farms in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to give their bees access to crops. Campers learned about the mutual benefits between farms and beekeepers!
At the end of our camp weekend, we were humbled by the message our campers gave us, that bringing them to connect with farmers was a life-changing experience. Read this post from campers, Nic & Nat which summed up their camp experience:
We are not unique. Farmers across the country are like us and we’re all working to do our very best every day to be sustainable for future generations to grow safe, nutritious and affordable food. Continue to be curious and ask questions.
Pat Orsak, Orsak Farms