We have also improved our membership structure. Becoming a member is now even easier and there are several affordable categories (including free!). Learn more about Individual and Corporate membership benefits here.
We are very grateful for the support of our sponsors and are always eager to welcome others who are committed to advocating for and empowering all women who work in the agriculture and food industry, particularly those who are underrepresented.
We are also excited because we have a new writer, April Stewart, author of the Farmer’s Survival Guide for Women. April will be a regular contributor on our social media channels and right here on our blog.
Hello Manitoba Women in Agriculture and Food (MAWF)! My name is April Stewart, ag journalist, dairy farmer, communications specialist, mother, voracious reader and learner. MWAF has generously invited me to share some of the blogs I’ve written for The Farmer’s Survival Guide for Women© (FSGW) over the next several months. MWAF advocates for all women who work in the agriculture and food industry, with a strong focus on those who are underrepresented. Their services and projects help close the gender gap in the agriculture industry to strengthen local economies and they work closely with industry stakeholders to develop diversity, equity and inclusion policies in their respective organizations.
Let’s get to know one another! First, a bit about me: My family has been farming the same land in southwest Québec (the traditional territory of Kanien’keháka [Mohawk]) since they came over from Scotland in 1831 which makes me the sixth generation. My dad and brother are there full-time and I’m there part-time because I write two columns for the Country Guide, Canada’s longest-running farm publication, and I run my own communications business.
The focus of my consulting and workshops is based on what I call brain-to-brain communications. That is, as diverse as humans are, the basic functions of our brain are the same. Therefore, if we can understand how those brain functions work – how people receive, process, store, and retrieve information – we can create messages with better impact. Farm to consumer conversations that intrigue and resonate with our audiences, and which nurture those critical relationships, are key to agriculture’s relevance, credibility and future success.
Because I’m so fascinated by the brain, I’m currently pursuing a B.A. Psychology at Queens University. I also have a diploma in Farm Management and Technology from Macdonald College (McGill University), and a Public Relations diploma from McGill. (And thinking about doing an MBA sometime in the future…Why not?!)
I just recently retired as President of Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture after 13 years helping to build the public speaking skills of hundreds of Canada’s agricultural youth.
I used to head up Agriculture in the Classroom Quebec and I sat on the Canadian Agri-Business Education Foundation Board as Communications Chair. I’m also a seed sales rep for Speare Seeds.
However, of all the things I’ve done or do or will do, being a mom beats them all by an immeasurable amount! My daughter is precocious and stubborn, empathetic and witty, and she definitely knows what she likes and doesn’t like. I feel like her mantra going forward might be “Don’t tread on me”!
A few of my personal “heroes”: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my late grandmother, my parents, and all the brave women around the world whose small, every day silently courageous acts move women everywhere forward inch by inch.
The three things I’ve heard the most in my life: 1) You don’t look like a farmer! (Because I have about 80 purses and love fashion and costume jewelry – when I guess what I’m supposed to be wearing are a flannel shirt, overalls and rubber boots!); 2) Oh, your name is April – when were you born? Oh, not in April! (When my mom was a teenager, she read a book in which the heroine was named April and said that if she ever had a daughter, that’s what she would call her. And voilà, here I am!); 3) Oh, your English is very good! (As a sixth generation Quebecer most people are surprised that I’m a real-life Anglophone. A completely bilingual one, but yes, Anglophones do still exist in this province. 😉)
I’m excited to share with you over the next few months blogs on topics such as confidence, the Dream Gap, intersectionality in Canada’s agriculture industry, career pollution, “seeing is believing”, gender-neutral farms, and much more!
Now, you go! Tell me a bit about yourself – where are you from, what do you do, what is your biggest passion and what is your biggest challenge being a woman in agriculture? Head over to our social media pages (Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn) to join the conversation or just to say ‘hi’ and to stay up to date on upcoming FSGW and MWAF blog features and news.
I’m looking forward to engaging with you all!
P.S.: Here’s farm working me and “you don’t look like a farmer!” me.