Rolling Hills (Rural Roots Canada) – In less than two months, I am embarking on a global journey in agriculture as a 2023 Nuffield Canada scholar.
This incredible opportunity with Nuffield is possible because of the support of my sponsor the Alberta Wheat Commission.
My self-directed research study will be media’s role in agriculture and the effect it has on consumers’ perception of the industry. This is an incredible chance to travel the world and learn about agricultural and media practices — two of the largest influences in my life.
I love connecting people, ideas, and resources and to me this scholarship allows me to do this on an elevated level.
It also allows me an opportunity to give back to agriculture, a community that has given so much to me during my life. From the lessons I learned growing up on a farm in Rolling Hills, Alberta, to the opportunity it presents consistently to meet amazing people across the country that strive to deliver safe, quality food that we enjoy.
My travel plans over the next two years include some incredible destinations worldwide: Dubai, Japan, U.S., England, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Brazil.
On my travels, I will be speaking and connecting with journalists, agriculture companies, institutions, farmers, and organizations in the industry about their communications strategies and the steps taken to ensure the proper distribution of their messaging.
With my 20-plus years of experience as a broadcast journalist and cattle producer and an extensive background in volunteering and promoting agricultural organizations, I will use my skills to research the delivery of different messages and initiatives and their impact.
After thoroughly examining how media and social media have shaped public perception of agriculture in different parts of the world, I’ll share my findings with journalists, ag communicators, and post-secondary institutions in Canada to build strategies to combat misinformation. The goal is to make it easier to access in-depth information on controversial topics.
With so many communication channels currently available, and the spread of misinformation so pronounced, it’s clear farmers and agricultural companies face an uphill battle. Building engagement with consumers is paramount to continuing to grow a healthy industry.
I will be sharing every step of my Nuffield journey here at ruralrootscanada.com, and on our Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and Twitter through articles, podcasts and videos. From stories of the people I meet, to learnings from the road and I’m sure, some behind the scenes bloopers, I want to invite you to follow along on the journey.
I also want to say congratulations to my fellow 2023 Nuffield Scholars as they embark on their own respective journeys.
Here is a short introduction to each of them:
Justin Cantafio, from Dartmouth, NS, is the executive director of Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia and a co-founder of Canadian Farmers’ Markets. He is also President of the Centre for Local Prosperity, a charitable organization specializing in economic re-localization across Atlantic Canada. Justin’s topic of study will be to take a global lens in exploring the power of the world’s public markets to build sustainable, resilient, and adaptable local food systems in Canada. Justin’s scholarship is sponsored by the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture.
Kirk Zembal, is a co-founder and co-owner of Blindman Brewing an innovative craft brewery located in Lacombe, AB. He plans to study how to create value for grain and oilseed growers in the rapidly changing sustainability and carbon pricing landscape. Kirk’s sponsor is the Canadian Canola Growers Association.
Dr. Stephanie Lam, is an Agricultural Program Officer working from Guelph, ON with Genome Alberta which is working to advance the application of genomic technology in the agriculture and agri-food sectors. She will be studying genetic and genomic approaches for sustainable beef production. Stephanie’s sponsor is Nuffield Canada.
Emily Ford, is a Senior Agronomist with Quattro Ventures in Bow Island, AB, which serves a crucial role in crop production through real-time field monitoring and providing solutions to ensure top crop performance on a complex 23,000 acre farm. Her topic of study will be regenerative agriculture in potato production systems. Emily’s sponsor is McCain Foods Ltd.
Keep a look out for them on social media as they share their respective journeys.
Thank you again, Nuffield Canada and the Alberta Wheat Commission, for making this dream possible.
The road ahead is full of so many opportunities to learn and grow because of this scholarship, and I look forward to sharing this journey with everyone!