What farmers want us to know about roadside photos

If you’ve been following the media this week; you might have seen;
Manitoba farmer concerned by selfies sprouting in sunflower crop or
We’re closed forever!’: How the search for the perfect selfie let to bedlam at an Ontario sunflower farm or
Sunflower selfies damaging crops farmer warns

Why do you need to pause before you take that field selfie? What I found out from my online farming community is really quite practical and creates a wonderful opportunity for us to all learn together.

What do farmers really want us to know before we stop to take that roadside photo or selfie?

I wasn’t entirely sure so I took to twitter and asked my farmer friends. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Thanks for being curious

Farmers want to thank us for taking an interest in what they do and what they grow. They are very knowledgeable about what is growing in their fields and they want us to ask questions.

Curtis McRae

2. Get Permission

DYK that farm fields are private property? To enter a field you require permission from the landowner. Know that you are trespassing and you can be fined. Yes, it is possible to find out who owns the land, yes that takes planning and yes, this would be the ideal scenario. Yes, we all know asking for permission is not happening in the majority of cases. So, farmers want us to know a few things before we take those roadside photos.

3. Safety must come first

Farmers want us to be safe. Safety is a top priority on farms and this now extends to us, the roadside inquisitors who are on farm property.

Did you pull off the busy roadway in a safe manner? Is it safe to exit your vehicle? Do you know if it is safe for you to enter or touch or eat the crop at this stage in development? Are you bringing foreign seeds or soil particles from another field or parking lot or yard or park into this space (think treads of your shoes, your furry friends, tires of your car)?

If you get permission, the farm family will guide you through all of these pieces PLUS you’ll get to ask all the questions about what you are seeing. Bonus: you might just get a photo with the farmer too!

4. Stay at the edge of the field & no picking

There is never a reason to enter a field. You can take amazing photos from the road, a field edge or approach (that mini dirt road that connects to the field). Learn your camera angles and know which direction you want in the background before you stop.

www.jenniferdyck.com | Sunflower Field

Why is this so important? The plants growing in the field are directly connected to the farmer’s income. By entering the field you may cause irreversible damage to plants which cuts into the bottom line for the farm family. Would you want someone skimming off your paycheck?

5. Take all your garbage with you!

You don’t want people leaving their garbage on your front yard, tossing it onto your balcony or into your car window. Farmers don’t want to clean up after you either. Plus, come on folks, this is nature. Your grade three teacher (and your parents) taught you to respect nature. Leaving your garbage behind is disrespectful to the farmer and to Mother Nature. You can do better (and most of us do).

Did you take a photo this year?

So, pony up, did you stop at a field this year without permission? I did. But now I know more so next time I can do better. #NoPlantsHarmedInTakingThisPhoto

www.jenniferdyck.com | Canola Field Selfie

I’m a proud Prairie girl and thankful for the farmers who feed us – I hope they smile knowing I paused to enjoy the beauty of their hard work. Farmers, I thank you!



Lessons From My Canola Kitchen

When planting fails

Sometimes success is not what you grow or do, success comes from the lessons you learn along the way.

Last month I joined a mini challenge to grow a canola plant on my kitchen counter. I turned to my community (both online and in person) for canola plant growing advice and set a plan to grow the best canola plant that I could.

It turns out that my idea of growing the best plant was much different than reality.

So I paused.

Lessons from my Canola Kitchen

  1. Try, Try Again – Do Not Allow Failure to Hold You Back

    When my first attempt at growing a canola plant failed miserably. I took all of my remaining seeds and tried again. Guess what?! I ended up with one germinated seed that has become my seedling.

  2. Even Slow Change is Growth

    A colleague shared this quote with me:
    “Slowly, slowly the egg will walk!” ~Ethiopian Proverb

    Sometimes change is so slow you think it’s not moving, until one day, it is! The lesson in this is to enjoy the journey, no matter how slow or fast it might seem.

  3. Community is: Knowledge, Support & Kindness

    There was a time when your community was restricted by your physical geographical location – think your community centre, local club, church or coffee shop.

    Today with the advancement of technology we can extend our community outside our geographical neighbourhoods and all the way around the world.
    Summer Sunset with Heart Hands | www.jenniferdyck.com
    With technology (mostly Twitter this time):
    Knowledge was accessed from farmers across Manitoba and all the way to Alberta, Canada!
    Support, encouragement and questions arrived from peers near and far.
    Kindness came as tips for best success, offers to send supplies and humour to help me through the failures.

The lesson for me was far greater than how to grow a canola plant. It was a lesson in community building, a lesson that included; humility, patience, asking for help, sharing stories and best of all contributing the the #FarmToFood conversation.

Where will your curiosity and passion for learning take you next?!