Event teaches Winnipeggers about food production
SPENCER MYERS, CONTRIBUTOR
Winnipeggers learned the farm-fresh facts about food production from local producers and agricultural advocates at The Forks on March 18 and 19.
Discover Agriculture in the City is an event that helps people in Winnipeg learn about food safety. People at the event talked to representatives from over a dozen organizations, including the Manitoba Egg Farmers, the Manitoba Mushroom Growers Association and the University of Manitoba.
Visitors were treated to cooking demonstrations, booths, speeches and a small-town approach to the big-city question: Where does our food really come from?
“There’s a lot of misinformation right now, especially about things like GMOs and the word ‘organic,’” said Robin Young from Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (MAFRD).
Young said the event is intended to educate city dwellers.
“The event was created to help the urban population get a better understanding of how their food products are grown,” said Young. “Having the information come directly from the farmers and producers is really important.”
The number of total farmers in Canada has decreased by 24.8 per cent since 1991, according to Statistics Canada.
With the number of farmers decreasing, fewer Canadians have first-hand agricultural experience. Agriculture professionals and students said they are noticing a strong disconnection between urban and rural communities.
“People no longer possess a relationship with their farmer or have a true understanding of the food industry,” said Colin Durand, a University of Manitoba agroecology student.
Durand feels these events can help bridge the gap.
“Urbanization has created this disconnect,” said Durand. “I think events like [Discover Agriculture in the City] are a good way to reconnect our youth with food production. In the long run, having a greater connection to the farming system and understanding food will result in a healthier generation.”
To reconnect the dots between urban and rural communities, the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences has an ambassador program that shares the faculty’s message to people across the province.
“As the faculty ambassadors, we go around to schools all over the province to promote our faculty and agriculture in general, showing the countless job opportunities our faculty has to offer besides farming, which is what everyone thinks of when you hear ‘agriculture’,” said agriculture student Sheldon Conrad.
Although there’s a lot of ground to cover, events like Discover Agriculture in the City are helping Winnipeggers learn more about their food and how it’s grown. Visit aginthecity.ca or aitc.mb.ca for more information.
Middle cover photo credit also goes to Spencer Myers.