Celebrating the “Hearts of the Farm”

CONNECT: Heart of the Farm Conference

November 14-16, 2017, Sheraton Cavalier Hotel, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

You know that feeling when you just return from a coffee (or better yet wine) date with your very best girlfriends and your soul is just filled up? Well, that’s how I’m feeling from what I can say was the best conference I have ever attended.

Connect: Heart of the Farm is a definitive “celebration of women in farming” that’s held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan annually in November. The third one was just held this November 14-16 at the Sheraton Cavalier Hotel in Saskatoon’s beautiful downtown. It was the second of this conference that I had attended.

Its agenda was loaded with not only inspiring but “quality” information for anyone living in the world of farming. The keynote list included the likes of Elaine Froese (farm coach & succession expert), Chef Michael Smith, Kristjan Hebert, Vance Crowe and none other than a remarkable and moving (last minute) keynote by The Heart of the Farm Creator Lacey Owens of Connect Ag. The speakers covered topics ranging from embracing change on the farm, the 5% rule of farm economics, millennial engagement & life lessons learned from the kitchen. That’s not all though – there were also breakout sessions packed with information and good knowledge.

The information provided at this conference was fit for any gender, but it was the “extras” that made it especially fitting & perfect for the worthy attendees – “the hearts of the farm”. The food was AMAZING (hello, build your own salad!) and there was a quiet,  room where you could take a break (to FaceTime the kids) complete with phone chargers, gum, accessories and even massage therapists. If that wasn’t enough… the final evening show “An Interactive Dinner Party” with none other than Celebrity Chef Michael Smith was sure to seal the deal. (The 600 Atlantic fresh, “caught-no-more-than 48-hours ago) oysters Michael flew in with him didn’t hurt, either). The evening was filled with games, LOTS of music, amazing food prepared by the PEI Celebrity Chef and his team and a lot more networking and laughs.

By the event’s last day of Thursday, while maybe somewhat hazy from a little wine the night before, I am willing to bet many of the women felt just like I did – that I had just left an amazing coffee/wine date 300+ of my very best friends. The vision and purpose of Connect – Heart of the Farm is evident from the moment you walk through the doors. The organizers successfully planted: connection, inspiration, knowledge, networking, fun and relaxation into this amazing event.

You can see why all this made it the perfect event for me to have a table for my book at the Tradeshow. These were exactly the type of women I wanted to celebrate and honour when I wrote my first book. The hard-working, dedicated “hearts of the farm”.

Which brings me to this photo…

The thing is – if you get the opportunity to sing the praises of the Canadian prairie GEMS from my first book to a celebrity (with only a minor amount of “awkward lurking” necessary) – you do it! In his keynote, he celebrated Canadian farmers (and in particular the women) as being the hearts and pillars. I couldn’t agree more!

I was proud to be able to share with him how honoured I was (and it was truly all mine) to interview and celebrate these amazing women that I am lucky to be surrounded by in my community. I thought he may like the straight-from-the-farm-kitchen recipes too!

Having a conference dedicated to the women in farming is wonderful, and this one “Connect – the Heart of the Farm” is brilliant.

So, to the amazing women that I was able to speak with, I am so grateful for meeting and connecting with you! I am happy to have been able to share that space with you all. To Lacey & Matt and the rest of the “Connect” Team – Bravo for a job SO well done!

More photos from the event that make me smile:

It was SO great getting to finally spend some time with this amazing woman. Megz Reynolds farms near Kyle, SK and was a MAJOR force behind the twitter storm our federal politicians received over the proposed tax changes that would have had a very negative effect on farmers. Be very thankful for her and all the others like her who stood up for all of us. She’s on twitter at @farmermegzz and she blogs over here. I already knew this since I chose her to be in Farmwives 2, but this human is a beauty inside and out!

(This was the cheeseball look I had on my face after meeting Chef Michael)

Until next time!