The Canola Eat Well program, supported by canola farmer organizations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, encourages farmers to wear their heart on a shirt to build conversations, connections and community.

Will Bergmann and Mairlyn Smith
Farmer Will Bergmann with home economist and TV personality Mairlyn Smith

Wear your heart on a sleeve

We’ve all heard the saying ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve’. It usually refers to a person who openly shares their feelings or emotions, but for Canola Eat Well, it’s literally wearing your heart on your chest.

Branded clothing is part of the Canola Eat Well (CEW) marketing strategy. CEW wants to grow a community of key opinion leaders who inform their audiences about choosing canola oil.

Katie Fowler
Katie Fowler, food stylist, with her “I heart farmers” T-shirt.

Wearing a branded clothing item is nothing new for companies. We all wear clothing with big name logos, like the Nike swoosh, but for agriculture it tends to be a bit boring, basic and masculine.

Agriculture brands, especially for work apparel, are aimed at the farmer and foster farmer-to-farmer recognition and conversation. The “I heart farmers” CEW gear is an agriculture brand but has a different target in mind: the Canadian end user. The branding is fun, engaging and connects with the people who use our canola while keeping the focus on the farmer. The brand becomes the calling card for choosing canola oil and supporting Canadian canola farmers. It provides CEW community members a visible item to wear while proudly promoting canola oil and the farmers that grow the crop.

The CEW community of dietitians, chefs, home economists, food communicators and some farmers proudly wear the “I heart farmers” shirt because they believe in the statement. How can you not love farmers? Farmers grow food, look after the land and support rural communities. But for some farmers, it makes them feel uncomfortable to wear that label. That’s OK because it’s not about you. It’s about the end consumer wanting to build a connection to you as a farmer.

Be proud, wear the shirt. It tells the world that:

  1. You want to connect to the end canola oil consumer
  2. You love yourself and your fellow farmer
  3. And you are proud of your canola provincial organization.

Next time you see someone wearing an I heart farmer shirt, celebrate them and tell the person that you are a farmer. It might just open a dialogue of connection and conversations.

If you want to order a shirt, go to www.canolaeatwell.com and select “Get the gear”, which is one of the boxes on the home page. Enter “CANOLAFARMER” for your special rate.

The Canola Eat Well joint effort is part of the provincial canola organizations’ mandates to actively facilitate market development initiatives in Canada. Across the Prairies, market development programming is about maintenance and awareness while a targeted market development program in Ontario is about increasing awareness and demand among consumers in that growth market.