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 and I’ll send you our conference details.

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


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.
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.
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.
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:

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.

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

  • 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.


Reveille is back!

Reveille is an open mic evening of laughter and sharing as the general public and special guests read the angst-filled words they wrote as children.
Dig out that box from the attic or basement — or maybe it’s still under your old bed at your parents’ place — and get ready to read. Yes, it’s awful. Yes, it’s embarrasing. YES, it’s funny!
The event is part of the Frye Literary Festival in Moncton, N.B., Canada.
This year’s lineup of authors includes Margaret Atwood, Kenneth Oppel, Johanna Skibsrud, Sylvia Tyson, Charles Foran and many others. We often have some of the visiting authors drop into Reveille with samples of their work from their youth, but everyone is welcome to come and read, or come and laugh.
Reveille is hosted by the Moncton Chapter of the Professional Writers Association of Canada. It’s set for Wednesday, April 27, 8 p.m. at the Moncton Press Club.

How to make love to your editor (figuratively speaking, of course)

(disclaimer: I have a great crew of writers and every week, I’m thankful that I have them as part of my team. What lies below are general comments and most certainly not directed at any of them. If I was referring to my writers, we’d be talking in person, not here.)

Early in my career, I met a few editors who made my life hell. They were mean. They were nasty. I think some even had green skin and horns.

Now 20 years into my career, I realize that those editors taught me rock solid, core journalism values. (And for the record, many more editors were patient. A special few were also a lot of fun to be around and were wonderful mentors).

Now that I’ve “crossed over” to the editor’s side, I sometimes wonder if I may be growing my own set of horns.

Good freelance writers are hard to find so when we find you, we want to keep you. To keep our horns from growing, here’s a Top 10 List of how to make love to your editor (figuratively speaking, of course):

10. File on time. Stuff happens, I know that. I have family and friends and pets too. Sources go on vacation, get tied up in meetings, don’t return calls — it happens. If you’re working on an assignment for me and something comes up, let me know as soon as you can. Don’t wait until deadline.

9. Check your facts. We’re human and we all make mistakes, but it’s your job as a journalist to get the facts and figures in your story right. Your reputation, my reputation and the publication’s reputation is on the line.

8. Ask me for my style guide. If I don’t have one, I’ll let you know if there are specific rules for you to follow.

7. Stick to the word count. I only have so much space and I assigned you a specific word count for a reason. If I ask for 800 words, don’t file 873 words — or 542 words. And if you do file a story that’s 873, don’t add a note like, “I’ve trimmed as much as I can, maybe you can do something more…”

6. Do suggest a sidebar. If you have some quick facts that can easily be made into a sidebar, I’m open to suggestions.

5. Every story should be your best story. I know some topics actually hurt when you’re writing the story. I’ve written them too. But I’ve assigned this story to you because it’s a topic I want to publish — and you accepted. I expect your best work.

4. Check your spelling. ‘Nuff said.

3. Follow up, but don’t pester. Many editors get hundreds of email a day and, I’m sorry, but I sometimes lose your pitch. Check with me, I don’t mind.

2. Tell me how to reach you. Add a signature on your email. You should do this anyways if you’re a freelance writer, but if I have a question for you, I don’t want to go sifting through business cards to find your phone number. And make sure you have voice mail.

1. Send a real pitch. Don’t send me a three day conference agenda and ask if I’m interested in a story. Focus. Craft. Sell.