New Zealand (Rural Roots Canada) – Nuffield Canada Scholar and Rural Roots Canada co-founder, Craig Lester, is on a mission to shed light on the media’s role in shaping our perception of the agricultural industry.
As he travels worldwide, Craig’s focus has shifted slightly, examining how agriculture is not often top of mind for journalists or consumers, especially in larger cities globally.
One of his central insights is that even in the larger metropolises, agriculture is still happening all around vying for attention from all kinds of distractions. He cites a dairy farm operation he visited in the heart of downtown Tokyo.
“You don’t expect to see a Tokyo dairy farm and cows in the middle of the biggest city in the world. It’s just not what you think about when you think of Tokyo. And to see the innovation implemented on the farm, including a simple walking path. All commuters in the area have to walk through the farm to catch their train.”
Currently travelling through New Zealand, Craig is witnessing firsthand how different countries view and experience food production, often prepared and sold right in front of you through markets and street vendors. This is in stark contrast to North America, where the average consumer may not have as strong a connection to the origins of their food.
As a Nuffield Scholar, Craig has been able to travel the world and gain valuable insights into different agricultural systems and cultures. He encourages anyone with similar interests to consider applying for the Nuffield Canada scholarship.
“This is a life-changing event. It’s a journey. You’d be surprised how much you learn and grow during this process. I’m not even a year into this and I have seen the growth in myself, the growth in my confidence. And you’ll meet so many people from all over the world. I’ve already made so many connections.”
2024 Nuffield Canada Scholarship Applications are now open until June 30, 2023.
And he’s not done yet. He has several more cities and countries to visit over the course of the year. His research will highlight the critical role of media in shaping consumer perception of the agricultural industry. Through his work, he hopes to increase the influence of agriculture in media and create a more informed and engaged public.
Craig’s Nuffield journey is sponsored by the Alberta Wheat Commission, Foothills Forage and Grazing, Western Stock Growers’ Association through the James Hargrave Legacy Fund, Eastern Irrigation District, Rolling Hills Ag Society, Hemsing Farms, Curt & Lynn Lester and Stephen Lester & Chantal Larose.
Craig Lester is the owner of Rural Roots Canada.