Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan was launched in 2015 to foster conversations with people in Saskatchewan about food and farming.
We recently had a chance to catch up with Clint Monchuk, Executive Director with Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan (FFCS). Farm and Food Care had its origins in the Food and Animal Council (FAC). When it was decided to expand the range of FAC to include the concerns of grain farmers FFCS was formed and Monchuk became its Executive Director. Monchuk has been in the job now since September of 2016.
Monchuk is well-traveled and has an eclectic background. He grew up on a farm near Lanigan, Sk. but has taught university in Guadalajara, worked for American farmers and ranchers in Washington D.C., and then Canadian farmers and ranchers in Ottawa. His position immediately prior to joining FFCS was CEO of the Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan.
The members of FFCS are, for the most part, the commodity groups located in Saskatchewan. There are also sponsors and affiliate members which represent government and other parts of the value chain.
Monchuk says that one of the things that FFCS does is provide the tools that people need if they wish to become involved in public discourse. “We provide some industry training on a number of different levels.” Some examples would be media training and ‘speak up’ training and farm tour training.
The media training is what the name suggests, but it is a high-end training to help individuals understand how agriculture can most effectively interact with media organizations. The ‘speak up’ training is designed to give people the tools to communicate more confidently with consumers. About the farm tour training, Monchuk says, “The focus of that is how to prepare your yard, the do’s and don’ts, I guess you could say, of farm tours, and again understanding who’s coming out to your farm.”
FFCS also does things directly to open up spaces for conversation. FFCS has “Chef’s Series,” which is run in conjunction with Taste of Saskatchewan. This is a black box style culinary competition similar to Top Chef Canada. Local celebrities will talk about “not only how the food is being prepared by these chefs, but also wider, talking about how that farmer grows canola and what the difference between GMO and non-GMO canola is, and why farmers would use, say antibiotics or hormones in beef production.”
FFCS is always looking for farmers to tell their stories. If there are people who would like to interact with the public or food influencers you can register here.