Agriculture for Life focuses on promoting local ingredients

The organization marked the country’s recent Agriculture Day with a Feed a Farmer celebrity cook-off in Calgary

Letitia Chrapchynski feels like she is getting back to her roots when she cooks with Alberta-grown ingredients.

“I take it for granted when I select food and I don’t realize it is part of our everyday living and our roots,” she said.

An award-winning chef who has worked at top restaurants in Calgary and Montreal, she produced the top dish at the Feed a Farmer dinner sponsored by Agriculture for Life.

The event marked Agriculture Day by inviting farmers to judge four presentations at a celebrity cook-off held at the posh Atco Blue Flame Kitchen in Calgary.

Pulses, beef and dairy products had to be used in the meal preparation and Alberta-grown products were used as much as possible.

Chrapchynski worked with Olympic medalist Cheryl Bernard to make beef on a bowl of gnocchi, a type of dumpling with a mushroom ragout, cream sauce and great northern beans.

Luree Williamson, head of Agriculture for Life, hopes the event becomes an annual celebration of farmers and food production.

“Everybody likes to eat so let’s celebrate,” she said.

Agriculture for Life is an eight-year-old organization formed with private funding to educate the public about food production and farm safety.

The program has expanded each year. The people at Ag for Life have hosted symposiums where 300 or so junior and senior high school students are invited to hear from different speakers and activities about agriculture. Programmers also visit classrooms and school administrators to talk about agriculture’s fit into the school curriculum.

This year, a junior reporter program is being launched, in which teenagers are invited to answer specific questions about the industry. The winning articles will be published.

The questions may ask where agriculture fits in with timely topics like sustainability or climate change. The reporters are expected to research the topics and interview individuals in involved in the industry to present agriculture’s side of the story.

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