Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario Commentary
By Brooke Wareing, CFFO Communications Intern
On Saturday, August 12th, I had the opportunity to attend the Perspectives Potluck on behalf of the CFFO, hosted on the Craig Family Farm in Arthur, Ontario. The goal of the workshop was to bring people together from various areas of expertise and experience, and bridge knowledge gaps between members of the community. The attendees of the workshop were all young professionals who have made contributions to agriculture and related fields. The background and disciplines of all the attendees were diverse, including farming, nursing, public health, plant science and pesticide research. Rather than bringing a signature dish to this potluck, guests were asked to bring their unique perspectives, ideas, and experience to the table to share in discussions, activities, and kinship.
Potluck organizers took a creative approach to educating the attendees about agriculture. For example, event host James Craig demonstrated his farm’s unique managed pasture beef operation by getting guests physically involved simulating grazing patterns. As a group, we roamed in a pasture (a roped off section of grass) walking around and grazing for food (candy). As we “grazed,” cow patties (paper plates) were dropped in various places, deterring us from picking up the candy that was close to the patty. This was an interactive and fun way of teaching people a few basics of managed pasture beef farming.
This creative explanation is beneficial as it steers away from the typical lecture style of teaching. Instead, the Potluck celebrated many different perspectives and learning styles, putting both ag-professionals and consumers in the field together to strengthen community and build trust surrounding our current agricultural practices.
Community members frequently have many questions pertaining to agriculture and the industry. Often- times members of the community may not know how they are connected to agriculture but are curious about how many systems operate. Creative, original activities and workshops like the Perspectives Potluck disentangle topics that consumers are often curious about and gives people knowledge in a way that is fun and easy to understand.
Whether it was learning about how to treat a sick calf, or how to farm vertically, the potluck facilitated holistic learning styles and helped to build community. This type of creative workshop was an excellent way to gather consumers, farmers and young professionals together to bridge knowledge gaps.