The old saying "Producers are made, not born" describes Natacha Lagarde to a tee.
Born in Sept-Îles, her only connection to agriculture, as a child, was Fardoche, a character in the television series Passe-Partout. Today, agriculture is her profession, lifestyle and passion. How did Natacha transform her childhood perception of agriculture to eventually not only earn a living in the field but also become a fervent ambassador of the industry?
A fine blend of curiosity, love and admiration for what she calls “the best (and one of the oldest) professions in the world” certainly helped. Natacha’s journey in agriculture began in 2010 when she and her husband, Sébastien, purchased a sugar bush, Les Sucreries D.L. Sébastien was born into a farm family, so Natacha’s journey really began a few years earlier when she met him. Natacha puts her heart and soul into this profession and way of life. “I love the connection to the earth, to life and working with family.”
Natacha’s profound desire to live in harmony with nature, as unpredictable as it can be, to provide her children with a lifestyle based on such values as hard work, resilience, resourcefulness, working together and being there for each other, is at the very heart of her agvocacy. It is as important for her to be immersed in agriculture as to promote it and raise awareness for it, especially for people like herself with no farming background and no direct connection to the agricultural community.
In 2015, this woman of action cofounded Agrimom.ca, a blog with the vision and mission of providing a public forum where men and women in agriculture can speak (not surprisingly, women farmers took the spotlight) about their profession, family, life, basically about everything that is near and dear to them, today and tomorrow.
“In general, people don’t know much about farming as a career. It has to be promoted. And who better to get the word out than the producers themselves? “
Natacha immediately felt a kinship to the Ag More Than Ever cause. She got involved in several initiatives that give a positive voice to Canadian agriculture. Among other things, she was the star of our “Be somebody” campaign, sharing her story and her face in a video (Agvocate Profile) and a wide range of promotional materials. There are a variety of ways to reach out to consumers or others interested in knowing more about farming practices. “It’s important to speak from the heart so it’s authentic and engages public attention. There will always be some negative perceptions about agriculture out there, as there are for any industry. What’s important is to have people see the positive sides of it.
Stepping out of her comfort zone
A multi-talented spokesperson, Natascha is always ready to step out of her comfort zone and up to the plate to showcase her multifaceted profession. She puts social media to good use featuring the reality and the beauty of agriculture. Social media is also a powerful, accessible, and user-friendly marketing tool, as it makes people “feel at home”. “Not everyone has the opportunity to live close to agriculture or to visit a maple bush, for example. Social media brings people together, wherever they are.” Even overseas! Natacha recently participated in a virtual roundtable with producers from Brittany, France, to discuss how producers worldwide use social media (she probably had a lot to say on the subject!).
Because social media is so far-reaching, the more you use it, the more you want (or can) do with it. Natacha is a member of the Chaudières-Appalaches region network of women entrepreneurs and joined the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup producers at the Portes ouvertes sur les fermes du Québec (Quebec open farm day).
Ah yes! And then there is her fashion sense and her fascination (or should we say obsession) with plaid shirts. But that will be for another time and another blog post!