Tonight in Ontario is the Harvest Moon – a signal to past generations that the crop was ready. I thought it was fitting to reflect (pardon the pun) on my recent trip to Manitoba.
Months ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to a Food & Farm trip during harvest time in the prairies. All expenses paid, yes. What did they ask of us all participants? NOTHING. Yes, I truly mean that. How they picked us all, I don’t know – the only connection I can figure out was our love of good food!
After settling in to my regular life, I have had a few days to gather my thoughts (and my sleep). I am sure to blog about my specific experiences of a whirlwind 3 days but this summary at least represents the table of contents.
- I had a quick walk (twice) to The Forks for a few hours in Winnipeg, MB.
- I met 9 other amazing “foodies” who ranged from Registered Dietitians, chefs, restaurateurs, a food photographer, a news anchor and a travel & food blogger.
- After a weekend, the titles of these strangers faded away. The names turned into personalities and the glimpse of everyone’s passion started to come through.
- Visits to vegetable, bison, honey, beef, grain, bean & canola farms were the main staple of our tour. It definitely kept us busy & active with the full itinerary.
- Throughout the tours and conversations with farmers, it became apparent that everyone had their own interest and investment into food. The questions and comments helped to clear up misunderstandings as well as provide us with many facts and figures we didn’t know.
- On top of the educational pieces about the agricultural processes and business side of farming, some history was retold.
- The families and farming community were like Pleasantville. Yes, I was told that they are regular folk too but, coming from a metropolitan city of London, Ontario – it was like walking INTO history and old fashioned values – everyone was so sweet & nice in EVERY conversation plus hospitable, opening their homes to us (literally)!
- Farmers really care about sustainability and being stewards of the earth.
- The food served was out of this world and amazing – ranging from a Pinterest-like party setting in a barn catered by several amazing chefs to my roomie cooking me breakfast (who is an award winning executive chef) and having it ready after my shower (so sweet).
- The farms were stunning pictures that really captured the essence of how much space Canada has and how beautiful every turn, hill top and valley is.
- Everyone has a story to tell – Using media (videographers followed us, social media used by guests & farmers ) with so many Canadian farms out there, can help continue the conversation about our food.
My takeaway from a 3 day weekend is that I feel even more passionate for food. It has sparked new interests, questions and ideas that will last me for years to come. What I love most is that this experience has now become part of my story and memories. It will shape my future of food, not just in my career, but personally. I will share what I’ve learned on my path, because connecting more with our food and health can help us all live a great life. This trip definitely fed my body, but more importantly, my mind and spirit.
The most sincerest Thank You goes out to:
- the Canola Connect team who invited & hosted us,
- the farmers who were welcoming and asked ANY question we had,
- the families that showed up to help to host us at their farms (children & adults alike),
- the other people who toured with me.