CANADIAN JOURNALIST SELECTED FOR TOUR OF KENYA
canadian agricultural journalist, Tamara Leigh, has been selected to join 14 other journalists from around the world for a unique look at agriculture in Kenya. For six days in November, the journalists will meet with farmers, producer groups, researchers, government officials and other experts to gain insights into the challenges of agriculture in a developing country.
“So much of the conversation about how to feed the world’s growing population insists that success depends on increasing agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Leigh. “The opportunity to experience the land and meet the people who are being asked to meet this challenge is beyond exciting.”
This is the first Exposure-4-Development media tour offered by Agriterra, a Dutch agricultural organization that works with farmers in developing countries to develop agricultural businesses. Agriterra is partnering with the International Federation of Agriculture Journalists (IFAJ) for the next three years to provide learning opportunities for journalists in the developing world.
a new perspective
The tour of Kenya will look beyond the images of hunger and poverty in Africa to explore a vibrant continent full of initiatives and business opportunities to boost agricultural production and economic development. Inspired by the UN International Year of Cooperatives (IYC), the tour will focus on the difference that agricultural cooperatives can make in developing countries.
“It’s an honour to be named to this elite group of IFAJ members from around the world, embarking for the first time on such a unique and significant initiative,” says Owen Roberts, IFAJ Vice President. “I believe the stories, photos and videos generated by the participants will help promote a deeper understanding of global food production and farming issues in the developing world.”
Journalists had to apply for a spot on the tour, and only 15 were accepted. Selection criteria included a review of each candidate’s previously published or broadcast work, their readership, listenership or viewership, and letters of reference. The applications were reviewed and rated by an international selection committee.
Tamara Leigh is a freelance writer based in British Columbia. She is a regular contributor to agricultural publications in BC and across the country. A self-professed agvocate and farmerphile, Leigh has recently launched her personal blog, FarmHugger, at farmhugger.wordpress.com. Leigh is also president of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation, a national professional organization for agricultural journalists and communicators.
As a writer, Leigh seeks to connect farmers with each other and bridge the gap between urban consumers and agriculture. This direction is part of what moved her to apply for the Exposure-4-Development media tour.
“Canadian agricultural organizations, including Grain Farmers of Ontario, are investing a lot in developing grain varieties and adaptive strategies that will work for farmers in developing countries,” says Leigh.
“It can’t just be a one-way conversation. I want to help strengthen the connection between farmers and help Canadians understand the context of agricultural development in Africa by sharing stories from the other side.”
Grain Farmers of Ontario is a sponsor of the Exposure-4-Development media tour. Look for stories from Tamara Leigh and her adventures in Kenya in future issues of the Ontario Grain Farmer magazine. •