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Connecting with Consumers to Build Public Trust

By Brady Kapovic, Public Trust Specialist, Regional Services Branch

September 2019

October is Agriculture Month in Saskatchewan. It's a time to celebrate the collective contributions of the agriculture industry and an opportunity to connect with consumers to help them understand what we do in modern agriculture and why we do it.

The industry becomes more technologically advanced each year, and we're able to grow more food on less land with fewer resources. While this is a testament to producers' ingenuity and commitment to a sustainable and competitive industry, these leaps in production practices create a knowledge gap for the average consumer.

The good news is that a survey conducted annually by the ministry shows Saskatchewan residents are interested in knowing more about food production, especially around environmental sustainability, animal heath and welfare, and biotechnology.

This year's Agriculture Month theme once again is "Our Food Has a Story." By sharing a common interest like food with consumers, we work toward breaking down barriers and filling the knowledge gap in order to build trust in agriculture.

The ministry recently updated its own approach to building public trust in agriculture. The approach focuses on three pillars: doing the right thing, effective assurance, and awareness and engagement. Each of these pillars plays a prominent role in much of what the ministry does in serving our clients and guides our approach to Agriculture Month celebrations.

The first pillar calls on us to ensure we are doing the right things on our farms and ranches: we want Saskatchewan to lead the way in adopting best practices. The second pillar focuses on effective assurance: we want the regulations we have in place to protect food safety, the environment and animal health. The last pillar highlights our partnership with industry and the importance of building awareness and engagement in public trust efforts: we want to make sure we are able to prove to ourselves and consumers that we are doing the right things, then go out and tell our story.

The ministry will be working with industry through a variety of means to connect with consumers, build awareness and engagement, and share our food stories. Through a partnership with Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan, an industry toolkit has been developed on the OurFoodHasAStory website. It includes resources to help you share your food story with consumers, regardless of your role in agriculture.

If you would like to learn more about the ministry, our approach to building public trust in agriculture, or any applicable programming that aims to create and maintain a sustainable and competitive agriculture industry, we encourage you to reach out to one of our Regional Offices located in 10 communities across Saskatchewan.

If you have a food story to share, tag us on social media using the hashtag #OurFoodHasAStory. For more information, visit OurFoodHasAStory.

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