There is a special connection that happens around the dinner table. Breaking bread with loved ones and the ritual of sharing a meal are intrinsic to the foundation of family. Food is not just calories, it’s the shared experience of eating together. And while eating together is happening more often for many families, it is happening less in restaurants.
COVID-19 has hit the restaurant industry hard. Some restauranteurs were forced to close immediately, while others managed to pivot, emerging seemingly overnight as a gourmet grocery store, meal delivery kit service, bodega or soup kitchen. This past spring, canola farmers came together to showcase support to those restauranteurs who count on canola oil in their fryers, sauté pans and squeeze bottles.
This was spearheaded by Canola Eat Well. “It was a way to show support to chefs, restaurant owners and the industry in their market distribution,” says Ellen Pruden, director of Canola Eat Well. Market disruption is something that farmers know all too well from imposed limitations in exports. They are deep in the trenches with their chef compatriots and restauranteurs who rely on canola oil as their primary go-to cooking oil in the kitchen.
“Canadians cannot eat enough of what we grow to get us out of world market disruptions. And we can’t possibility order enough takeout to solve all the problems, but we can certainly show our support to one another,” says Jeannette Andrashewski, a canola farmer from Two Hills, Alberta.
This message is on full display in the Canola Eat Well video titled “Field to Table, Eat Well Together”.
“Nineteen farmers from across Canada video-recorded themselves in their kitchen, on a tractor or in the barn to share a message of hope to their fellow Canadians,” Pruden says. “The video has been wildly successful with over one million views via social media.”
Many industry partners echoed their support by re-sharing the video. It is being shared throughout the restaurant industry, reaching a primarily urban audience who are hearing loud and clear the message of support from farmers. It has been heart-warming to read all of the thank you comments on social media from urbanites back to the farming community.
To watch the video, go to youtube.com/canolaeatwell and look for “Field to table, eat well together in support of Canada’s Take Out”. Feel free to share the video through your social media platforms, and tag @CanolaEatWell on Facebook and Twitter or canolaeatwell on Instagram.
Find the video on youtube youtube.com/user/CanolaOilGrowers
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.