Agricultural journalist Melanie Epp is the first winner of the IFAJ – Arrell Food Institute Media Bursary. The bursary will support Epp’s participation at the 2018 Arrell Food Summit May 22-24, 2018, in Guelph and Toronto, Ontario. The summit is an opportunity to celebrate innovation in agriculture and food through dynamic speakers and deserving laureates of the Arrell Global Food Innovation Awards.
“The Arrell Food Institute was impressed by Melanie’s commitment to bringing the latest in agriculture and food innovation to farming communities on two continents and beyond, so that producers and industry have the tools they need to work towards a sustainable future,” said Dr. Evan Fraser, director of the Arrell Food Institute.
Epp, a native Canadian, has worked as a freelance agricultural journalist since 2011. Four years ago, she moved to Belgium, which she says broadened her horizons, widened her professional network, and ultimately introduced her to farmers in Africa, Asia and Europe.
Epp is a member of the Belgian guild of agricultural journalists, one of 43 guilds comprising the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists.
Epp says globally, farmers face a variety of daily challenges: Unpredictable weather, shrinking farmland, labour shortages, and tightening regulations. In order to continue to farm sustainably – both environmentally and economically – the sector must continue to innovate, she says.
“In every story I write, the goal is to help farmers improve their practice by adopting new ideas and new technology,” she says. “To do this, I attend talks and trade events, and interview researchers and inventive farmers to find inspiring stories that highlight innovation, technology and research that help farmers to improve their practice.”
The Arrell Food Institute, located at the University of Guelph, is dedicated to transforming global food systems and elevating Canada’s place within the global food economy. It builds on the University’s world-class strengths in all aspects of food research and education, to be the world leader in food and agricultural innovation.