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After a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the “Discover Agriculture in the City” event returned to the Forks Market on March 18, showcasing the exciting world of agriculture and its relevance to nutrition and health. The event provided an excellent opportunity for individuals in the agriculture sector to showcase their activities, as well as for the general public to learn about the field.

Representing the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM), a team of researchers including Jo-Ann Stebbing, Chamali Kodikara, Jaime Clark, Suvira Prashar, Danielle Perera, and Vinuri Weerasinghe highlighted their agri-food and health research programs, promoting CCARM to a diverse range of people from different backgrounds, industries, and disciplines.

“We received a continuous flow of visitors who were interested in our giveaway recipes and protein quiz, which I find to be a really good tool to connect us to the school-age kids,” said Shiqi Huang. “There was great interest in the lentil and bean recipes we were sharing, so I find this event a great place to not only promote what CCARM does, but also educate people about healthy eating with our research outcomes.”

For the CCARM team, participating in the exhibition provided a range of valuable experiences, from exposure to a wider audience and networking opportunities to professional development and promotion of their research. By showcasing their work, they hope to attract potential students, funding, and collaborations.

Graduate student Jaime Clark found the event to be a rewarding experience that provided new opportunities to showcase the clinical research going on at CCARM, as well as preclinical science. “The Veggie-Meter was a huge hit among children and adults, and facilitated discussion on general health related to fruit and vegetable intake as well as how we use this instrument in our research,” she said.

Bringing together growers, farmers, researchers and marketers to share their knowledge all under one roof is a great way to connect all the aspects of what makes agriculture so important to people who live in cities.

“This was my first experience at Ag in the City, and I really enjoyed talking to people, leaning new things like the role of genetics in chicken production, or why turkey is not the main reason for feeling sleepy after Thanksgiving supper,” laughed Vinuri Weerasinghe. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to participate in this event and more importantly, represent CCARM.”

For graduate student, Chamali Kodikara, the event also helped facilitate networking opportunities. “Exhibitions can be a great opportunity for students and researchers to network with other professionals in our field, including colleagues, potential collaborators, and investors who may be interested in our research,” she explained. 

Jo-Ann Stebbing noted what a great turnout there was, “This was an excellent opportunity for CCARM to showcase our research and promote awareness of the research centre,” she said. Suvira Prashar and Danielle Perera concurred, noting how visitors were genuinely interested in the versatile research being done at CCARM based on foods grown right here in Manitoba.

Overall, “Discover Agriculture in the City” provided an engaging and educational experience for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. It showcased the vibrant and innovative world of agriculture, and highlighted the important role of research and science in ensuring safe, healthy, and delicious food for everyone.