AFTER 20,000 KM, more than 25 fairs, and seven educational days, the 2018 Grain Discovery zone season wrapped-up at the end of September. This season Grain Farmers of Ontario successfully communicated about grain farming to thousands of Ontarians across the province. Grain Farmers of Ontario added new additions to the Grain Discovery Zone including a soybean crayon colouring table, carpet farming with toy implements, and a cover crop display. These additions helped attract more people and created more learning opportunities.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2018 SEASON
The Grain Discovery Zone was invited to attend two Farm and Food Care Breakfast on the Farm events, each with thousands of visitors and multiple commodity groups. These events bring the agriculture community together and create a fun way for consumers to get-the-scoop on food production. We also attended seven agriculture educational days where students came during class time to learn about grain farming and agriculture practices. These events provided an excellent platform where participants came ready to learn about Ontario agriculture.
WHAT WE DO
The Grain Discovery Zone is a mobile interactive education space. The Grain Discovery Zone is a fun and approachable place to host the conversations we need to have. Opening these conversation helps guide consumers and answer questions about grain farming in Ontario. Some consumers do not know their options and feel scared about food choices. There is so much information in our society surrounding food choices, and I, as someone new to the world of agriculture, understand the challenge this poses. By listening to consumer concerns and providing facts, we help consumers navigate the tricky choices and teach them about the good that grain farming does in Ontario.
I grew up in northern Ontario in a community that has no agriculture. After high school, I attended the University of Guelph for Environmental Governance. Here, I learned how important agriculture is and that we need to get talking about it. I took an interest in where my food was coming from and how it was grown. I think my experience with navigating my own food choices has helped me to understand the concerns and allowed me to connect with visitors to the Grain Discovery Zone.
As the Grain Discovery Zone Ambassador, my role is to promote Ontario’s grains and their many benefits and uses. In a world of social media and fast information, we can never underestimate the power of human conversation. I found it rewarding to help visitors navigate complex choices that have arisen in modern food production. I enjoyed every conversation and learned so much. Each visitor to the Grain Discovery Zone brings a new perspective and new insight.
During the 2018 Grain Discovery Zone season I learned that consumers care. They are interested and want to hear farmers’ stories. Whether that it is how grains are harvested, what GMOs are, or how our grains are used. Many consumers are disconnected from agriculture, just like I was, but are trying to learn more. I enjoyed my experience this summer traveling with the Grain Discovery Zone across Ontario. Thank you to those who came to the trailer. I look forward to continuing the conversation. •