Farm writers seeking networking and professional development opportunities gathered up the wagons and headed west to the 2009 CFWF annual conference, September 10-12 in Edmonton, Alberta.
“The Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation annual conference is the place to be for networking and professional development if you write or broadcast about agriculture,” says John Greig, CFWF President. “The mix of interesting farm tours, stimulating learning and fun with colleagues has been a success.”
“The conference theme is Shaping the Future Marketplace: The Opportunity Hunters,” says Janet Kanters, CFWF conference co-chair. “We wanted to feature Alberta producers, businesses and other leading authorities on how they are facing change head-on, and finding opportunity within that change.”
Delegates arriving at the Radisson South attended the welcome reception, opened by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s Parliamentary Assistant, Doug Griffiths, an ardent promoter of rural development and author of “13 Ways to Kill a Community”.
On Friday, September 11, delegates had their pick of three tours to get a first-hand look at farming operations, agri-businesses, and agricultural organizations in the Edmonton area.
Tour One – Pioneers of Yesterday and Today – focused on family-oriented operations that are truly committed to agriculture, such as Highland Feeders and the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. This is the one I joined – a separate blog report on that will follow soon.
Tour Two – A Fork in the Road – included stops at Sunworks Organic Farm, the Footloose Caboose Lodge, and the Viking Hutterite Colony.
Tour Three – Alberta Spuds and Suds – featured Alberta entrepreneurship at its finest, with visits to the Little Potato Company, the Multicultural Heritage Centre, Inspired Market Gardens and Alley Kat Brewing Company.
All three tours met up for dinner and entertainment at the St. John’s Cultural Centre for a traditional Ukrainian supper and dancing/entertainment. The dance troupe, about 20 members strong, showed off blazing footwork, amazing cultural costumes and some high flying fun.
Saturday was professional development day as delegates heard from speakers focusing on the conference theme, as well as other issues such as social marketing, lessons learned from the H1N1 outbreak, and more. The conference wrapped up on Saturday evening with a Taste of Alberta banquet and the CFWF awards program which recognized 44 award-winning writers and photographers.
Founded in 1955, the CFWF serves the common interests of agricultural journalists, including reporters, editors and broadcasters as well as those in business and government whose primary responsibility is agricultural communications.
The CFWF represents more than 380 members who belong to regional and provincial organizations, including:
- British Columbia Farm Writers’ Association (BCFWA)
- Alberta Farm Writers’ Association (AFWA)
- Saskatchewan Farm Writers’ Association (SFWA)
- Manitoba Farm Writers’ and Broadcasters’ Association
- Eastern Canada Farm Writers’ Association (ECFWA)