Over the last few years, I have had a persistent feeling that I should help elevate the conversation around careers related to food. Food has a great way of bringing people together yet as of late it has become polarizing in some circumstances. The story behind our food and better yet the people is an excellent way of bringing various parties to the table over meaningful conversations.
The Food Careers podcast is about real food and relatable people. I have been overwhelmed by the positive response from listeners thus far. With over 270 downloads per episode and growing, I feel as though the audience listening is one that is engaged and interested to hear more.
Food holds a great power of bringing people together
In episode 7, I take 15 minutes to review my past growing up in eastern Ontario, attending Guelph University and moving across the country to continue education at Olds College. When I think back to my childhood, I remember spending the vast majority of my time with farm animals, family and friends. As a typical farm kid, I spent countless hours by the creek and ridding my horse until sundown. Every morning I would jump on my bike, ride through a cascading tree covered drive way to an opening with corrals and a brown and red barn. I could not wait to see my cats, cows and horse. Like most farm kids, I had chores to do everyday and in time they became less like ‘a chore’ and more like my calling.
As a eight year-old, it’s hard to say you’ve found your calling but I truly felt like I had a knack for handling cows and horses. I liked them and they liked me, even the stubborn ones eventually came around to being easy to be around. We would exhibit at the local fairs and exhibitions all summer and fall. My parents made a deal with me that if I worked hard on our show cattle that I could collect much of the prize money. The motivation to earn money to save for post secondary education combined with my competitive spirit made me consistently work to train, groom and effectively feed the show string. A guiding hand from family was always nearby.
A remember thinking that no matter what career I would choose down the road, I would have farm animals near me. 4-H instilled those aspirations as I surrounded myself with other farm kids who also enjoyed weed identification, cattle evaluation, public speaking and showing projects at the county fair. These 4-H kids grew up with me, at one time we were 10-year old’s soaking up all the information and then suddenly we were youth leaders in our late teens helping the juniors. I am grateful to have met some of my closest friends in 4-H, many of those alumni remain in food related careers. As a look back, 4-H ingrained the importance of growing food and nourishing our communities.
When the time came to spread my wings, I went to the University of Guelph (U of G) which was 5 hours from home. U of G was an amazing educational institution that seemed to check all the boxes for me. My classes were specific to my interests and most classmates shared common goals. When the time came to graduate, I made a wish list and felt that continuing my education in Alberta would help me in my quest to find my dream job. However, that also meant moving far away from my beloved family, friends and animals.
Tune into Episode 7 to hear what happened next and why this Podcast came to be…