By: Krystal Aulie, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
Agriculture Month 2016 has come to a close; however, the celebration of the Saskatchewan food story is just getting started.
This year’s Ag Month campaign, with the theme “Our Food Has a Story,” was truly a team effort. Stakeholders from all sides of the food industry came together to share their “chapters” of the story through social media and public events.
Five spokespeople were enlisted to help reach new audiences in new ways. Dale MacKay, head chef at Ayden Kitchen and Bar, engaged customers in conversations about the quality of food and ingredients produced in Saskatchewan, while Registered Dietitian, Steph Langdon, educated people on the nutritious food crops grown in Saskatchewan, how to prepare some of them, and the importance of passing that information on so everyone can be their best self. Mommy blogger, Tenille Lafontaine, reminded followers that modern farming technology contributes to food affordability and safety, and that consumers shouldn’t succumb to “fear” marketing. Scientist and veterinarian, Dr. Leigh Rosengren, went further on safety assurance citing the evidence-based science used to set standards that are monitored and measured so they can constantly be improved. Finally, farmers Sarah and Jake Leguee, shared how they are committed to sustaining and also improving the land they use to grow food – and how having access to modern tools and technology are critical to ensuring that happens.
Agriculture Month officially kicked-off at the meat counter at Saskatoon’s Westview Co-op and throughout the month, it lived online at OurFoodHasAStory.com. This web hub, hosted by Farm & Food Care Saskatchewan, featured videos, stories and a contest encouraging producers, consumers, and industry to share their food stories … and they did! Stories connected farming, ranching and field work to the food that makes its way onto our dinner plates. Consumers weighed in with their memories from the farm, as well as comments, questions and food stories of their own.
Farm & Food Care Saskatchewan also hosted a “Meet A Farmer” day at select Federated Co-op grocery stores on October 22. Students shared their food stories in school and at home with Agriculture in the Classroom’s new washable food story placemats. And, Ag More Than Ever launched their Be Somebody campaign.
The food conversation was happening in Saskatchewan! Thanks to all of you who engaged in storytelling through social media. A special shout-out to SaskCanola for donating the social media contest grand prize and the organizations who contributed to the weekly giveaways. And, a big congratulations to the winners who so passionately shared theirs: Adrienne Ivey, Kirsten Gaudet, Tara Davidson, Chad Ross, Autumn Lawson, Heidi Spilchuk, Andrea De Roo and Cam Houle.
Our work here isn’t finished. We must continue to share our food stories and connect what we do and why we do it that way with the values we share with the consumers who put their trust in us everyday.