Love Sask Food

Giving Tuesday

So you haven’t heard about Giving Tuesday? Your not alone, it was a new term to me too. What it is, is a movement to create an international day of giving on the Tuesday after thanksgiving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season.
The reason it caught my interest is because I have struggled with the materialism surrounding the holiday season in the past. I have always hated Christmas shopping and maintained that if you can’t think of anything to put on your list, then you probably don’t need much of anything. It saddens me to see everyone running around spending money they don’t have on things that other people don’t need. The magic of Christmas for me is not what is under the tree, but who is around it. 

A few years ago I was trying to make the dreaded annual Christmas lists for my kids, who really didn’t need anything. This is what I ended up writing instead and delivered to our family on behalf of my boys. 

As the season approaches

Of sugar plums dancing in our dreams

We can’t help but notice that

Our house is bursting at the seams! 

We are digging out decorations

And preparing for all the cheer

Because tradition does demand

Many things this time of year

‘On the naughty or the nice list?’ 

Mom and Dad have gave their warning

We do look so forward to opening

Some gifts on Christmas morning

But we do share a room

Which also holds ALL our STUFF

So we kindly ask you to consider size

(or Mom might say ‘enough!’)

As for Mom and Dad

They also love what Christmas brings

Family, friends and eggnog

But they don’t need any more things.

We talked about giving differently this year

And they asked us if we’ve heard

That someone, somewhere might need our help

And could we spread the word….

A 9 year old in Africa

Whose only toy is a stick

A young Mother in Toronto

Who can’t work because she’s sick

A 4 month old in Honduras 

Whose only bed is a mat 

An orphan in Mongolia

That froze her ears without a hat

So here we are asking you

Look around a little this year

So many people could use a hand 

It seems so crystal clear!

Not only far, but close to home

It doesn’t take much to see

Please find a special way to give

Instead of a gift under our tree.

This was never meant to be shared with anyone other than our family but it seemed fitting to include with this post. 

I haven’t found much time to write lately but when I stumbled across the idea of #GivingTuesday I decided it was a worthy of finding a few moments. Is there anyone on your list that has you stumped? No time to shop? Send a donation in their name to one of my favorite causes or charities listed below. Even if you have all of your gifts bought, after a weekend full of Black Friday’s and Cyber Monday’s I think we all need a ‘Giving Tuesday’ to help us get into the spirit. 

1) Farm Food and Care. This is a Canadian organization that works to connect dinner plates to farm gates. Their goal is to collaborate, communicate, and engage with Canadian  consumers. It is a grassroots organization doing great things for consumer/producer communication. 

Click here to give 

2) AgChat. This organization is run 99% by volunteers. It’s goal is to provide all people involved in agriculture the tools to tell their story. Follow along with the #AgChat conversation on Twitter Tuesday’s at 6:00 CST. 

Click here to give. 
3) The Lighthouse in Saskatoon, SK. The Lighthouse operates the Cameco Community Kitchen, which provides meals to the wider community, for anybody who is in need of an evening meal.

Click here to give 

4) Food Banks of Saskatchewan. Self explanatory. With the downturn in our economy over the last year or more, usage of food banks is increasing.
5) World Vision. This is one of my favorites because you can purchase seeds or livestock to help families become more self sufficient. I have given many World Vision donations as Christmas gifts in the past.

5) Wadena Food Bank. For my local readers. You can contact me directly for information about donating to the food bank or to the ‘stuff the bus’ Kin Club food drive. 

Here for more information. 

Don’t think you can pull off a donation this time of year? Find a non monetary way to give. Volunteer at a local seniors center or donate some old holiday decorations or clothing to a shelter. Tuesday November 29th is a great opportunity to celebrate the simple joy of the season by giving. 

 Photo Credits;
Thomas Bresson

Categories: Agvocacy, Ask a Farmer, Community, Family Farming, Love Sask Food, Saskatchewan, Uncategorized, Volunteering | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

What Is The Deal With Women in Agriculture? 

I was recently following a couple fairly active conversations in a group I am a member of, that focused on biases against Women working in Agriculture. I just couldn’t get on board with thinking about how bad it is – because I kept going back to thinking how much better it has become. At that time I already had a draft of this post done, and I have revised it a few times as I roll this situation around in my head. I am by no means making light of the struggles many women in the industry have gone through. I only want us to focus on the pride we should all take for our part in shaping the current landscape of acceptance. 

So here is the draft I decided to publish. Quite honestly I don’t love it. But my goal was to talk about Connect sometime this fall and being in the middle of harvest my blogging time is minimal for some reason! I can only speak from my own experience, so please let me know what your thoughts are on this subject. 

With the leaves turning color and the dust flying, harvest in Saskatchewan is in full swing.  Now that the season is upon us I can’t help but reminisce about Tiffany Martinka and the hashtag she started last year with women of harvest 15 (#womenofharvest15).  It coincided with a blog post I wrote titled ‘What Do You Do For a Living?’ that focused on convincing women to be proud to say they are a farmer. They were both included in a buzzfeed article titled; These Bad Ass Women Are Taking Selfies To Show How They Harvest Like a Boss. Contrary to how it may have come across to some people, neither of these things were an attempt to pat ourselves on the back. What they were, was a honest and heartfelt effort to bring awareness to some issues within the agriculture industry. 

One of the issues many of us are trying to address is women underplaying the roles that they fill in agriculture, or the knowledge that they have. I know women that handle the finances, women that seed the crop, women that spray the pesticides, women that pull the calves, women that fix the machinery, women that work as grain buyers, in seed sales, and as agronomists. For me its not about feminism or sexism, it’s simply about pride. When I was pregnant with my first child my Step-Mother politely told me that I didn’t have to put ‘farming’ on the occupation line of my patient profile at the doctors office, and that I could put ‘self employed’ instead. Ladies, we should be proud of the roles we play and the contributions we make to agriculture in Canada. The industry needs us. Do not be afraid to show your confidence at work or to stand up and say ‘I am a farmer’.  

As an industry I think we should celebrate how far we have come in acceptance of women. Most people don’t even blink when they see a female doing a job that used to be typically identified as a man’s. It honestly feels to me that agriculture as a whole is starting to understand that gender has no place in the conversation and women are encouraged as much as men. I found myself relating the situation to what Will Smith said in an interview with Steven Colbert a few weeks ago. When asked about racisim in the US he said (I’m paraphrasing here) I’m not going to get caught in the trap of talking about how bad it is because it’s not. It’s not as bad as it was 20 years ago and it’s certainly not as bad as it was 60 years ago. It’s by no means perfect, but maybe more acceptance will result if we focus on how far we have come. Years ago when I first got involved in my husbands family farm a women’s opinion was new, and definately out of the ordinary on this operation. I really struggled to find resources to help me learn more about the business and I felt very alone in my quest. These types of challenges certainly still exist but today we have many great resources to help such as FarmHer which shines a light on women in Ag through positive stories, imagery and now a TV series, or industry groups taking initiatives like this one (The Women of Real Pig Farming). There are also various Facebook groups that work to connect and encourage women in the industry: Ag Womens Network and  Women In Ag or Saskatchewan Women In Ag and any Tuesday you can join in a Twitter chat called #AgChat to connect and learn from other farmers across the world. Don’t let a preconceived notion or someone else’s negative experience keep you away, if you are looking for a job to be passionate about agriculture is the ticket and if you are looking for support there are lots of us here. 

My memory says that I communicated these ideas a bit more eloquently in last years post, but my website crashed shortly after and that particular blog was lost so I can’t be sure (my memory has been known to fail me before). Regardless, my original inspiration to write it was to help promote a new event called ‘Connect: Women in Agriculture’. The first of its kind (in my corner of the world), this event focuses on bringing the different  women involved in agriculture together for a two day conference and promises to be jam packed with learning, networking, and fun. The second annual event will be held on Nov 2 & 3 in Saskatoon, SK and I highly recommend you go if you are a women involved in the agriculture industry at any level. Let’s connect and support each other! See this link for more information. There is also a Canadian conference called Advancing Women in Agriculture held in 2 locations. You can learn more about these events here. (Catch up on what you missed by following #AWCeast2016 and #AWNchat) 

So I guess I’ll leave this post by saying what you should already know. Things have changed. Farmers don’t wear overalls and hold pitchforks anymore, sometimes they wear Silver jeans and lip gloss. You don’t have to list ‘farm wife’ on the occupation line at the doctors office and you can get that Ag degree and be kick ass at your job after you graduate. In my opinion, there has never been a better time to be a woman and to be involved in agriculture! 

Happy Harvest to all the men and #womenofharvest16  

Categories: Agvocacy, Ask a Farmer, Family Farming, FarmHer, Farming, Harvest 2016, Jobs in agriculture, Love Sask Food, Saskatchewan, Uncategorized, Women in Ag | 3 Comments

A Better Backyard BBQ with Bison. 

Ok, let’s be honest. It isn’t better. I do not believe in tearing down one area of our diverse, plentiful and exceptionally safe food supply in order to promote another. Canadian raised beef, pork, turkey, chicken and specialty meats such as lamb or bison are among the highest quality in the world. “Recognized around the world as one of the best, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency federal inspection system has allowed Canada to export meat to over 150 countries. Canadians should be proud of this reputation, and the Canadian Meat Council is committed to working with the CFIA on continuous improvement to maintain our international and domestic reputations.”

I do have a soft spot for bison meat though. When I was growing up my aunt and uncle (Marie and Jack Evans of Clair Side Bison) always made sure we had a steady supply of this heart healthy protein in our diet. We now raise our own animals and I am doing the same for my family.

What is Bison?

Original settlers of the American West called North American bison “buffalo,” because they were reminiscent to Asian and African buffalo. Although it is a misnomer, the name buffalo is still commonly used today.  I personally have had consumers question me when I say that we raise buffalo, because they have never heard of this animal.  The correct term is bison and in Canada meat is correctly labeled as “bison,” so consumers know they are buying this specific North American product.

A Brief History 

As settlers moved into the center of the continent looking for land to farm, and towns to build, the natural home of both the native people and bison diminished. Historical accounts suggest there were 60 million bison in 1800. By 1899 there were less than 1000 bison left.

In 2005, it was estimated that there were over 500,000 bison on farms and ranches in North America and in Canada we have almost 2000 bison producers who own over 250,000 bison. Because of consumer demand and the initiatives of farmers and ranchers the population of this almost extinct animal continues to grow – a conservation success story.

Why Choose Bison?

Because bison move constantly, grazing specific areas intensely for short periods, they actually enhance biodiversity. Each year a bison cow and her calf require an average of four to sixteen hectares of grazing land depending on the weather and range conditions in any particular neighborhood. As bison move across the land, they create good locations for the seeds of new prairie plants to germinate. The result is a varied grassland that hosts butterflies, pollinating insects, and nesting birds.

The bison’s healthy diet, along with their stress-free lifestyle, results in a lean protein and nutrient packed meat. Bison meat is a flavourful, tender and a lower fat red meat alternative. Similar to fine beef but slightly sweeter and richer in taste, it is often described as a meat with a rich flavour satisfying you more while eating less. Studies have shown that the meat from Bison is a highly nutrient dense food because of the proportion of protein, fat, mineral, and fatty acids to its caloric value. 

Comparisons to other meat sources have also shown that Bison has a greater concentration of iron as well as some of the essential fatty acids necessary for human well being. Readers’ Digest magazine has even listed bison as one of the five foods women should eat because of the high iron content. When I first looked into the nutrient comparisons between bison and other meats I was shocked that a red meat could have considerably less fat than chicken, less calories than salmon, one of the lowest amounts of cholesterol while still having very high amounts of iron and vitamins.  With it’s wonderful rich taste and it’s significant nutritional performance, bison meat has often been referred to as the meat of the future.  It is most definitely the meat of the ‘present’ in my kitchen.

I am aware that a post like this should probably include a wonderful recipe using bison meat and beautiful picture of it. Sadly I have found out that I do not have a talent for food photography (I am actually really bad at it so you will have to settle for enjoying the stock photos below).  I am going to leave this post by saying, just use it in any beef recipe (that’s what I do).  Our family favorites include a good bison rib-eye steak cooked over an open fire, or sweet and sour bison meatballs served with white rice.  The secret is a lower temp and a longer cooking time (slow and low) especially for steaks or roasts.  Because of the lower fat content, prepared bison is always a little redder in color than beef, so don’t be fooled when cooking a steak! 

Thanks for reading!  Stop in and check out my sources for more info:




Categories: Agvocacy, Ask a Farmer, canadian beef, Canadian Meat Council, Family Farming, Farming, Love Sask Food, Saskatchewan Beef, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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