Happy World Food Day!
World Food Day is Friday, October 16th! On this day, we thought it would be fitting to feature a blog post from one of our newest volunteers, Lanre, about his connection to agriculture and food. Please enjoy Lanre’s story below.
Not many people develop an early understanding of where our foods come from. Luckily while growing up in Nigeria, my parents relocated us from the Lagos metropolis to a less-developed suburb about 20 km north of Lagos, and this was the immersion I needed in small-scale farming. My siblings and I were enrolled in a nearby school, where our principal emphasized the practical aspects of Agricultural Science. I remember each student having designated farm lots during school terms, where we would engage in different farm operations to apply our increasing knowledge of food production.
But I had other ambitions than a career in the food value-chain. Fortunately, I passed the secondary school leaving exams in my penultimate year and pursued a 2-year A-level pre-university Foundation Science Programme expected to lead straight into the second year of university. This journey was quite smooth (or so I thought), as I got grades good enough to get into my choice mechanical engineering programme at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB). Interestingly, that programme was already full, so I accepted admission into the agricultural engineering degree programme instead. With encouragement from my dad and mom, and with the painstaking tutelage of our then head of department and other academic mentors, my love for agricultural development was rekindled.
As an intern at the Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, I learned about the linkages that exist between the government and farmers, particularly in regards to inputs and agricultural tools/machines. After school, I taught Agricultural Mechanization to post-secondary students in Niger State (Northern Nigeria), before coming to Canada to pursue a master’s in bioresource engineering at McGill University. I have visited farms/food processors for school excursions or work across Quebec, and I have come to appreciate the investments that go into ensuring resilience within the Canadian food system.
I look forward to learning more about Ontario Farmland Trust’s efforts and tools used to protect farmlands across the province. And as a Research & Communications Volunteer, I will be seeking opportunities to use my experience to help further this commendable OFT cause.