Atlantic Canada Farm Writers Annual Tour & AGM

ACFWA is approaching its second birthday! And indeed, where has the time gone?

Fredericton-area member Kim Waalderbos has put together an awesome day and a half tour for the Fredericton area. Apples, dairy, potatoes, local food, ice cream — we’re covered for a great tour and great learning.

ACFWA members are journalists, communicators, broadcasters and government relations professionals associated with the agricultural sector in Atlantic Canada. We’re the folks who write about farming, communicate about farming and have the best interests of the farming community at heart when we go to work each day. ACFWA is associated with the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation and the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, so membership at the local level includes membership at the national and international levels.

The tour is next week, Thursday, June 14 and Friday, June 15. Registration, costs and other details are below. If you need a hotel room, email me at allison@finnamore.ca and I’ll send you our conference details.

Hope to see you in Fredericton, N.B. next week!

AGENDA

Thursday, June 14

9:30 a.m. Everetts Apples – The farm is a 200+ apple farm. A cool succession story as the younger generation is now exploring new technologies and growing ideas. They family operates a popular U-pick. They also have the most amazing views of the river and valley area. http://everettapples.com/
10:30 a.m. Travel to next stop
11:00 a.m. Scotch Lake Dairy  – Richard and Carol Boonstoppel: this couple branched away from his brothers   and the family dairy farm 15 years ago to strike out on their own. They bought a vacant dairy farm, set it up and have built the herd to milk around 70 cows today. What makes them special is they installed a Lely robotic   milking machine to milk their cows a year ago. Now they can run the herd with   just the two of them (well, and their five younger kids). Richard is also the chair of the Fredericton Dairy Management Group.
12:00 p.m. Travel and lunch (make sure to bring along a bit of money. Our lunch stop will be at a dairy bar and candy store. We’ll provide the sandwich, you provide dessert!)
1:30 p.m. Coburn’s – These folks are in Keswick Ridge. They have really cool story of how they made a   complete loop by integrating the different aspects of their farm. They have   computerized feed mill to make the feed for their 25,000 laying hens which provide bedding material for an in-vessel composting system — that also sources waste material from the farm’s on-site cider press, which is fed by their 10-acre apple orchard. Oh, and the family has put together a neat ag museum of sorts in the upstairs of the cider facility.
3:00 p.m. Travel
3:30 p.m. Real Food Connections – Real Food Connections believes that food should be seen as a   whole, not just the sum of its parts. It’s about food being enjoyable and not merely for fueling ourselves with the right combination of nutrients for peak performance. It’s about knowing what we eat, and not turning a blind eye to   the list of ingredients we can’t pronounce. It’s about learning where our   food comes from and how it’s grown. At Real Food Connections, they work to   make local quality food accessible to the general public. They’re also a resource for local food education. http://realfoodsfredericton.ca/2010/.
4:30 p.m. Return to hotel
5:00 p.m. Depart for supper
5:30 p.m. Supper

Friday, June 15

7:30 a.m. ACFWA Annual Meeting – General business and election of officers
8:30 a.m. Potato Research Station – We’ll explore some of the latest potato research and see what technologies will be available just around the corner.
10:00 a.m. Travel to next stop
10:30 a.m. Scott’s Nursery has the largest selection of plant material east of Montreal. The nursery is a huge stopping point for plant buffs from all over. A very family-oriented operation. Mr. Scott himself just won the ‘hospitality’ award at this year’s Agricultural Alliance of NB annual meeting for all the great things he does to promote agriculture to visitors. http://www.scottsnursery.nb.ca/main.asp.
12:00 p.m. Homeward bound

Cost: Register for the tour + one year ACFWA membership: $50. Details on membership benefits and a member registration form are here: http://www.acfwa.ca/join

Register for the tour only: $20

Travel during the tour: In an effort to keep costs down, we’re going to be car pooling during our visits. Our starting point each day will be the AGM hotel: Lakeview Inn and Suites located at 665 Prospect Street in Fredericton. http://www.lakeviewhotels.com/hotels.php?entry_id=3159

Pre-registration is required for catering purposes

To register for the ACFWA Car Tour on June 14 and 15, please send the following information to, Trudy Kelly Forsythe at trudan@nbnet.nb.ca.

  • Name:
  • Cell phone number (to be used only if we need to reach you during the tour):
  • Are you able to be one of our drivers?
  • How many people can you transport in your vehicle?
  • The registration fee is payable at the time of the event.

 

Working the networking

Are you a networker?

I think for some people, the gift of gab comes easily, while for others, it’s a chore. Plunged into a room full of business contacts, sometimes we don’t have a choice but to strike up a conversation with the person beside us. It’s better than standing over in the corner looking like a wall flower.

I attended a cocktail party in Ottawa once (sounds so glamorous!) and I noticed one man standing by himself for quite some time. Been there, done that, hate the unease of it all, so I went over and started a conversation. My journalism background probably makes it easier to jump into a conversation, but I wasn’t asking any probing questions — where are you from? What do you do? — that kind of stuff. Turns out he was a politician (Ottawa, go figure) from Atlantic Canada. When I made that link with him, we began to talk about bars that we hung out in during college years. We were likely in many of the same places at the same time, it turns out.

Finding that one nugget of shared commonality is the key, I think, to opening someone up in these kinds of sitations. Do you work in the same field? Have kids ths same age? Play similar sports? Vacation in the same places? Asking the other person about their job and their passions is always a good idea, giving you the chance to let them do the talking.

The worst thing you want to do is walk away feeling like it’s been a one-sided conversation and you’ve done all the talking.