It’s hard to remember sometimes where our passion comes from. Do I truly love this here and now or do I love this because I always have?
I was feeling a bit of that when I set off for Belgium in April for the International Federation of Agriculture Journalists annual congress.
See, the idea of forming an Atlantic chapter of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation was something that some of us in this part of Canada had been talking about for several years. Four of us had been talking prior to IFAJ and decided to get the ball rolling with an event at the end of April. But as for planning the details, we decided to wait until I returned from IFAJ in Belgium.
In the weeks leading to up to IFAJ in Belgium, I had worked on several additional contracts. In fact, after several consecutive 18 hour days, I calculated that I had written 10,000 words in seven days. By the time I reached Belgium, I was exhausted and feeling quite burnt out.
When I thought about continuing the push to form the Atlantic Canada Farm Writers Association, I was overwhelmed. So much work to, was it worth it? Is it a worthwhile project to put my time into? Why is it worthwhile? And whose big idea was this, anyways?!
But attending IFAJ just prior to the first meeting of the Atlantic Canada Farm Writers couldn’t have been any more perfect. My passion was reignited.
I don’t know exactly when it happened.
Maybe it was at the beginning or end of each day, when Janet and I caught up with what was going on in our respective lives. Or maybe it was hearing Billy’s Facebook updates about his crazy travels to reach the congress, or when Rodney and I shared the joys of working from a home office, or when Markus blocked the bathroom door for me at the farm, or when many of us stared with disbelief at the Belgium blue cattle, or when Adrian told me about his recent trip to Africa, or one of the many times Joe cracked a joke, or when Marc let me try on his wooden shoes, or when Kelly, Lilian, Joanne and I piled into the clown car. Or, or, or, or….
All of the reasons, none of the reasons, each one individually, none of them in particular, all of them put together and so many more brought the passion back for me. It was never far away anyways, but you know, sometimes we just need reminding.
In Belgium, I was reminded of exactly why it was important to have a local farm writers’ group: Farmers and agriculture — around the world, throughout our country or in our own back yard — have important stories to tell and we need to help them. It isn’t any more complicated than that and it certainly isn’t any simpler. And as writers who help tell these stories, we need to gather together so share our experiences about what works and what doesn’t work when we tell these stories. We need to learn about the new practices farmers are adopting and how they’re working on the farm. We need to stay informed and up-to-date with the latest communication methods. We need to polish our photography skills and sharpen our reporting proficiency. We need to network with each other.
So zeal renewed, I came home and caught up with Wayne, Andy and Heather to plan our June 4 Atlantic Canada Farm Writers’ Association meeting.
I have always been confident that we had the potential in Atlantic Canada to have a good size group, but how many would I actually see on June 4? Nine had contacted us and expressed an interest, so with that number in mind, I set off for Charlottetown. By the time I started my presentation talking about what CFWF and IFAJ have to offer to those of us in Atlantic Canada, there were 12 of us. Twelve!
I. Knew. We. Could. Do. It.
And do you know what the best part of whole experience was? I didn’t have to “sell” them on the advantages of regional, national and international farm writers’ groups. They already knew. They could feel the energy in the room and see the potential of what broader groups can offer. We’re already brewing our very own passion, right here in Atlantic Canada.