Ag in the “Field”

Have you heard of Ag in the “Field”??

It is a duo of agriculture loving island students who wanted to share the real story behind agriculture and show the real dirt on island farming, right from the field. The founders of Ag in the “Field” are Carleigh MacLeod, Kinkora; and Jillian Ferguson, Spring Valley. Neither of them grew up on farms, but know the value that agriculture provides in our province. They share great stories from farm families and different career opportunities within the agriculture industry!

Name: Jillian Ferguson

How long have you been involved in agriculture\food industry on PEI?
I’ve technically been involved in agriculture on PEI since 2018. I didn’t grow up on a farm, but have been helping out with my family’s small blueberry farm since I was little. I first got involved as part of my agriculture class in grade 12 at my high school.

What is your education/ experience?
I am currently a third year student at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in Truro, Nova Scotia. I am in the BSc Environmental Science program and taking a minor in Plant Science.

Are you involved in any extracurricular or community activities?
I have been heavily involved in extracurriculars my whole life, and continue to be. I have been a member of the varsity volleyball, badminton, and woodsman teams at Dal AC, and was rookie of the year and captain for the Rams Volleyball team (2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons respectively). I am also a member of the Student Representative Council (SRC) with the student’s association, representing my fellow student-athletes since my first year.
I am also a co-founder of Ag in the Field, a social media platform showcasing youth in agriculture in Prince Edward Island, as well as sharing agriculture-related stories and information with the public. There is a gap between consumers and producers like never before, and our goal is to bridge this gap and teach our peers about the industry that we love!

What’s your favourite way to eat local products?
Drinking ADL chocolate milk. I never forget to bring a carton or two back to NS with me when I return to school after breaks, and I whenever family or friends are making a trip to Nova Scotia I ask them to bring me over some. There’s nothing like ADL!

When you were a kid, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I thought for the longest time that I wanted to be a veterinarian. I loved animals and still do, and thought that being a vet would be the dream career to spend time with animals all day, every day. I still love animals, but I’ve learned that I love working with plants just as much!

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I love music. I listen to a lot of different genres, and I have learned to play music on multiple instruments, including the piano and teaching myself the guitar. I don’t think I ever go through a day without listening to music!

What would you want consumers to know about the agriculture/food industry?
I love to meet farmers and see the pride they take in their crops and their animals, and I wish more consumers knew about this. Farmers live and farm in their communities and they, just as every other member of the community, want to make sure it continues to thrive.

Why do you do what you do?
The farming community is full of some of the greatest people that I have ever met, and I love interacting with such a passionate group of individuals that genuinely care about their work. Working in agriculture is super fulfilling and always changing, and will never get boring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Carleigh MacLeod 

Occupation: 

I am a full-time university student and I work for East Prince Agri-Environment Association, as their Communications Coordinator. 

What does your job entail? 

Through my job I educate people about how their food is grown and share the great work that farmers are doing to make farming more environmentally friendly and sustainable for future generations. 

How long have you been involved in the agriculture\food industry on PEI? 

I grew up in a large agricultural community, but I was never directly involved in agriculture until 4 years ago when I joined the ADP (Agriculture Diploma Program) in Grade 10 and took an Agriscience course in high school. Through field trips, the GenAG project, and meeting many people who work in agriculture, I became very fascinated by how our food is grown. And I was shocked to discover the endless opportunities in agriculture. 

During the summer of 2018, an opportunity arose and I stepped out of my comfort zone to work for Farm Food Care PEI as their summer student, and I have been involved in agriculture ever since and loving every minute of it! 

What is your education/ experience? 

I am currently a third year business student at University of Prince Edward Island. 

Are you involved in any extracurricular or community activities? 

I have always been greatly involved in my community, church, and school. I currently sit on my church parish council and I am a member of the Rural Municipality of Kinkora Events Committee and Somerset Festival Committee. I also teach catechism and volunteer for community fundraisers and events. 

And during my free time I operate Ag in the Field with my friend and co-founder Jillian Ferguson. Ag in the Field is a social media page where we showcase where our food is coming from, who produces it, and the many opportunities available to students and youth; whether it be directly on the farm or through the many connections that farming has to other areas of employment. By saying yes and giving opportunities in agriculture a chance, it has opened many doors for Jillian and myself, and we want to share our passions with everyone else! 

What’s your favourite way to eat local products?

I love eating fresh locally grown produce. One of my favourite local treats would be fresh PEI strawberries in the summer, I love going to pick berries then enjoying them over ADL ice cream. I believe that knowing how our food is grown and seeing exactly where it comes from just makes taste that much better. 

When you were a kid, what did you want to do when you grew up?

When I was little I wanted to be a teacher, but as I got older my plan was to work in healthcare because I love working with people, helping others, and giving back to my community. I never considered that agriculture would even be an option for me. 

What would you want consumers to know about the agriculture/food industry? 

When I first started really paying attention and becoming involved in agriculture I was so surprised to see how much work, planning, and care actually went into food production. I encourage consumers to do some research and learn more about how our food is grown, so that you know the correct facts and information before jumping to conclusions and believing everything you read. 

Farmers really do care, they put their heart and souls into growing food! They care about the safety of our food, our environment, and our communities. Growing food is a team effort, so many experts come together to make sure that the best interests of our environment, communities, land, water, and farm families are being met. Every single ounce of food produced on this Island is grown/made to the highest quality and standards.

At the end of the day, agriculture is invaluable because we all need to eat and our communities and economy relies on the success of agriculture. Here on PEI we are very fortunate to have access to safe, locally grown food… so we need to support agriculture and our farm families to ensure our food access remains viable.  

Why do you do what you do?

Agriculture is ever-changing, and each day there is something a little different to do, making my job interesting and never boring. I love that every day I am learning something new and meeting new people. I really enjoy working with a group of progressive young farmers in my community. The whole farming community is so enthusiastic, I have never before worked with a group that are so genuinely passionate about what they do, which makes working really fun and enjoyable.