ROLLING HILLS (Rural Roots Canada) — Conny Kappler has spent the past 20 years teaching agriculture to students through the Classroom Agriculture Program.
During that time, she has seen the divide between rural and urban grow and she wanted to do something about, especially given she had gained all of this first-hand experience working with students about where their food came from.
This is when Kappler decided to team up with photographer Ralaina Virostek, who also had roots in agriculture and grew up in the Rolling Hills area, and create a book to help educate kids about the work that goes in.
The farmer from Rolling Hills in southeast Alberta then set about putting her wealth of knowledge down on paper.
She had Virostek, who buys produce from her market garden, bring her camera with her, and brought a few local farmers and their kids out for a bit of a photoshoot.
And with that, ‘Dirt to Dinner’ was born with Kappler penning the book and Virostek doing the photography and design.
Kappler feels it’s unique in that its a book about farming written by two people with agricultural backgrounds.
She says there are three reasons for the book.
“To connect rural and urban, to encourage reading and to teach kids about agriculture,” Kappler said.
She adds establishing more connections between urban and rural is crucial moving forward.
“The disconnect between urban and rural is getting bigger, rural and small-town populations are decreasing, while cities are getting bigger.”
She wants to get across to children that producing the food that we enjoy every day takes a lot of work and passion.
“It is hard work, but it is very rewarding when you grow food and that we can be very thankful that we can grow our own food and that in this country we have an abundance of food.”
She felt a book was the best way to do it because you are connecting to a child in a very positive and educational way.
“We can learn about farming through reading, so raising animals and growing food takes time and patience. There is so many factors involved.”
Kappler owns a market garden operation with her husband in Rolling Hills in southern Alberta and sells their produce at the Medicine Hat Farmers’ Market.
Kappler also sits on the Agriculture Service Board for Cypress County.
She is hoping counties across the province will buy copies of the book and donate them to schools and libraries in their regions.
It is being launched at the Rolling Hills Seniors Centre this coming Sunday, with another launch planned for Medicine Hat later at a future date.
For more information about the book and how to order it click here.