A passion for communication that serves agriculture.
Cathy Chenard didn’t choose agriculture, agriculture chose her. A native of the Kamouraska region of Quebec, Cathy came into contact with the farming community through her work in the field of communications. Starting out as a reporter and later host and producer on community television, she has been a Communications Advisor for the Union des producteurs agricoles in the Québec City/North Shore area since 2012, where she is committed to enhancing the ag industry. Among other things, she has hosted two ag-related TV programs, Le Pied Ferme and La Voie Agricole, which highlight the many, sometimes misunderstood, facets of farming. Through this experience, she realized that agriculture was her calling and that she could make a career from it. Today Cathy specializes in farm succession. She considers herself fortunate to be able to work alongside farmers, understanding their work and helping the general public discover the sector.
What does the word “agvocate” mean to you?
To me it means someone who is a source of positive ideas and opinions about farming. It also means loving the industry and the people working within it. I think farm producers deserve our thanks and congratulations for dedicating their lives to this line of business. In my view, it’s also a way of promoting ag successes, local products, the lifestyle and the producers.
Why do you promote agriculture?
I promote agriculture because producers need to be appreciated and the general public needs to be more aware! When you believe in something, you don’t really feel like you’re “promoting” it. It comes naturally!
How do you promote agriculture?
Anything goes when you’re promoting agriculture and showing off the great things about farming! First, I make extensive use of social media to convey positive messages about agriculture. Specifically, I write blogs for labanderiveraine.com and I post farming photos to showcase the beauty and vibrancy of the industry.
Another thing I do to promote agriculture is to buy local products to encourage local producers. At social gatherings, I take every opportunity to talk about agriculture, farm succession and local products, especially to people who aren’t involved in farming.
Lastly, in my work for the past three years, I’ve been hosting an ag program called La Voie Agricole, which showcases the producers, the next generation, local foods, new technologies and regional development.
Tell me something you’ve tried that works well.
That’s easy! Buy local and eat local. I choose products from my area and from Quebec when I do my grocery shopping. I also develop contacts with farm producers. I visit their farms and build friendships with young producers.
I also like to participate in ag activities: farm visits, farm shows, community suppers. And I try to pick restaurants that serve regional produce. I also keep myself informed about the latest news and issues in agriculture.
What tips would you give to other agvocates?
I would tell them to find their own way to promote agriculture. It’s important to seize every opportunity to raise awareness and educate people about what ag really is and how important it is to our society. For instance, they can take part in networking activities whenever they can or use social media to convey positive messages.
Cathy’s story shows that it isn’t necessary to come from a farming background to be part of it and promote it. Her involvement with farmers, particularly the next generation, brings her great satisfaction, because the people are genuine and fantastic to work with. According to her, all consumers should take an interest in agriculture so that they can better understand how food is produced and how the industry works. Through this, they will discover that it is a way of life that brings together passionate people who enjoy feeding the world.