Community. Connection. Canola.

Food Day Canada is an annual celebration of Canadian food held on the first Saturday of August. It honours farmers, ranchers, fishers and processors by serving local and regional food and beverages.

But this year, I want to turn the tables to acknowledge, celebrate and thank a special community. A diverse, talented, inquisitive and caring community I would never had met without the Canola Eat Well team from the Manitoba Canola Growers.

Over the years they have organized farm tours, community summits, in-person and on-line food events. Opportunities for this prairie farm girl, and farmers from across Canada, to met chefs, registered dietitians, home economists, recipe developers, food writers/bloggers, scientists and media personnel from coast to coast.

It has provided the chance to share stories and have thoughtful, insightful conversations about food and farming. It has created friendships and meaningful connections.

Our #CanolaConnect community is a special one in many ways. The recent, thoughtful actions of those in it have inspired this post. Below is my thank you to them.

Flowering Canola

Dear Canola-Connect Community,

Since China banned Canadian canola exports, your support and concern for canola farmers has been phenomenal. Your response has emphasized the power and importance of connection and community.

So on Food Day Canada, I want to celebrate you – the chefs, registered dietitians, home economists, recipe developers, food writers/bloggers and media personnel. Your voices as food communicators are valued and important.

In the recent months, you have called on Canadians to include canola oil when they ‘support local’. You have highlighted not only the versatility and nutritional value of our made-in-Canada oil, but the impact of exports to farmers, the industry and our economy.

As I’ve watched you on your television spots or Facebook lives, read your blogs or social media posts, I’ve often had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Your shout-outs, your recipes, your unwavering support, really make a difference to me.

It may not change trade disputes or the outcome of this year’s crop, but it makes it easier to deal with the difficulties. Knowing someone cares. Knowing someone supports you. Knowing someone appreciates what you grow.

Using your talents and passion for what you do to share our stories with your audience makes my heart sing. Every time you make a shout-out to farmers, Canadian food, give the facts behind canola oil and food in general, I’m cheering from the sidelines!

Whether we have met in person at Harvest Camp, Canola Summit, cooking demos or on-line through #canolaconnect, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation. Thank you for your curiousity, interest and desire to learn. For connecting with farmers and understanding the complexities of food production. For appreciating where our food comes from as well as the risks and challenges associated with it.

As Ellen Pruden, Canola Eat Well Director, so wisely stated, “Acts of support are like acts of kindness. They do something to lift people up and make a difference.”

Jennifer Dyck photo

#CanolaConnect Blog Posts

Canada’s Crop: Why I Choose Canola

We Support Canadian Farmers

Opinion: A love letter to you






Practicing Appreciation

 “Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.”                               Albert Schweitzer

Last month our community lost a very special person who worked at a local financial institution. She always had a smile, a kind word, genuinely cared and went above and beyond to help her customers. She was exceptional and made a difference in the lives of all those she touched.

After her sudden and unexpected passing, I wondered if she knew how much she was appreciated. I wondered if I had ever let her know how I enjoyed our brief interactions. She wasn’t a friend, yet she was a familiar, valued presence in my life.

We all know people like this – they work in stores, banks, schools, healthcare, at service stations or tire shops. They stand out from their peers. They are cheerful, helpful, efficient. They improve our daily lives with their positive outlook and leave us feeling valued and appreciated. But do we reciprocate that feeling often enough?

P1140059A simple thank you or word of encouragement can go a long way to making someone feel valued for doing their job. It isn’t difficult, time-consuming or costly. Serving the public can be trying, and often only the negative is conveyed. Positive feedback is always appreciated and often leaves us feeling better as well.

I have always made an effort to express thanks but this recent loss left me wondering if I had done enough. It reinforced my resolve to not take people for granted, to ensure I always convey my appreciation. After all, the difference-makers in our lives, who brighten our days, do so quite often without even knowing it.