Farm visit connects culinary art students to their food

Andrew Dahl, Chef Instructor, Sask Polytechnic

What do you do when two busloads of students come to your farm? Well, of course you welcome them, show them around, and feed them lunch.

On a rainy day during harvest, students from Saskatchewan Polytechnic came out to the farm of Doyle and Val Wiebe near Langham. All of the farm equipment was lined up and an brief explanation of what each machine is, and what it does, was given to the culinary and nutrition students who had assembled. Most of the students had never been that close to this type of equipment before.

Andrew Dahl, chef instructor with Sask Polytechnic, spoke to RealAgriculture’s Dale Leftwich about the importance of the farm tour to the students. Dahl teaches a course entitled Field to Fork. “We try to connect food, real food, to our students. Often in the industry we pick up a phone, call in our grocery order and we get a box ….there is more to it than that, so we are trying to provide that connection.”

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Dahl says the controversies surrounding food are not going away, and he has to prepare his students for the things they need to deal with when they are working in industry.”Within my class we’ve been dealing with the topic of organic food and our other food because it’s really a hot button topic right now. I’ve laid out both sides and I’ve actually got them to do a bit of digging for information. And I actually made them to go through a debate.”

The way that he approaches issues like this is to give the students the tools they need to make up their own minds, and a trip to the farm is an important part of that. “Really, what I want them to do is think. I want them to sort and filter through what’s out there and I think having first hand connection with a farmer and actually talking to the source really helps that.”

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