– Kyra Lightburn from the University of Guelph, Ranjit Singh Kalra from the University of Waterloo, Alex Sanders of Brussels, attending the University of Guelph, Emily Peat of London, attending the University of Waterloo, and Victoria Kyle of Drumbo attending the University of Guelph.
Based on their submissions, below is a snapshot of the five students selected. All applicants wrote great essays about their involvement in organic food and farming. The selection committee chose these five individuals, because they felt that these recipients would not only benefit the most from this opportunity, but would also be able to give back to others in their study groups, working environments, home farms and others in their network.
Kyra Lightburn, at the University of Guelph, is committed to organic agriculture. Her intention is to study and apply the ecological principles of nature toward agriculture practices that will focus on and address environmental concerns. She assists at the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming, maintains an organic agriculture themed blog and aspires to attending post-graduate level study of organic agriculture. She believes that education and the communication of ideas will play an integral role in achieving sustainable food production; therefore she is keen to learn as much as possible such that she can pass this knowledge on to others through research publication and agricultural communication.
Ranjit Singh Kalra
Ranjit Singh Kalra attends the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at University of Waterloo. Ranjit comes from a family practicing agriculture for 5 decades. His Master’s research agenda is ‘Coexistence of conventional and organic farming to achieve a sustainable agriculture state’ where higher production can be achieved with increasing environmental and social economic sustainability in the agriculture sector especially for small scale farmers. He aspires to go back to India and start organic farming at his family farms and spread awareness of the benefits of organic farming in his region. He has been looking forward to attend this conference for a long time and looks forward to this opportunity to learn what’s happening in the organic agricultural sector by meeting people at the forefronts of the organic movement.
Alex Sanders is studying for a degree in agriculture science at the University of Guelph and in the summer of 2013, he completed a co-op internship at Meeting Place Organic Farm near Lucknow, Ontario. His involvement with organics began in 2008 when his family began pursuing certification of their 150-acre cash crop farm near Brussels, Ontario. Their grain yields have been slowly stabilizing, and even increasing. His keen interest in plants means that his future occupation will likely be focused on organic crop production and cropping systems. After the 2015 Guelph Organic Conference, Alex plans to share the information he acquires with his family, the certified organic farmers in his area that they collaborate with, and his classmates.
Emily Peat is a 4th year civil engineering student at the University of Waterloo. She started a summer business, EcoPlace Organics, in her second year of university, delivering local certified organic produce to people at home and work. The business started as a method for her to support local, small-scale organic growers in the best way she knew how. In the first week, she packaged up and delivered boxes of produce to 6 families; by the end of the second year, she was delivering to 30+ families. Emily’s business has now merged with Eat Green Organics in London, which means that she travels home on weekends to work. Emily wants to learn as much as she can about organic farming issues so that she can contribute to a solution to the challenges of her business.
Victoria Kyle is pursuing a degree in Food and Agricultural Business at the University of Guelph. She grew up on a beef and cash crop farm outside of Drumbo. Almost 10 years ago, her parents made the decision to become certified organic and within recent years, Victoria has become increasingly interested in the crops her Dad is growing, how he is practicing pest control and the practices he is using with his cattle operation. She now helps with field work and has plans to experiment with market gardening as well as growing her sheep flock into a commercial organic flock. She looks forward to bringing everything she learns at the 2015 Guelph Organic Conference back home to the farm and sharing with her parents. She also wants to share her thoughts and ideas with others by starting conversations around organic farming.
The 2015 Guelph Organic Conference is on from Jan 29 – Feb 1