British Columbia has three representatives among the 25 members selected for the new Canadian Agricultural Youth Council.
Sara Kate Smith, Jessica Leung and Marcus Grymonpré are the council’s three members from BC, and bring a diverse set of perspectives and skills to the council.
Smith may well be the best-known, having made her mark as chair of 4-H Canada’s Youth Advisory Committee and being Canada’s representative at both the United Nations Committee on World Food Security conference and the UN Innovation Symposium for Family Farmers. Partly due to her lobbying, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization created a youth advisory committee to help guide policy-making.
Jessica Leung was a co-op student with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada in Agassiz while a student at SImon Fraser University. “Beyond research, I have been involved in reporting regional climate impacts on agriculture and in consulting in integrated pest management,” she notes in a brief description of her background introducing council members.
University of the Fraser Valley graduate Marcus Grymonpré hopes to speak for new entrants to farming.
“I believe my unique perspectives relate to generating awareness and excitement about the industry to attract new entrants, especially youth with no prior agriculture experience,” he says in his introduction.
Originally announced by federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau on January 24, the council will meet twice a year to “identify new and emerging issues, enable on-going dialogue on challenges and opportunities, share information and best practices, and provide advice on the strengths and weaknesses of policies and programs affecting the agriculture and agri-food sector.”
Candidates between 18 and 30 years old were invited to apply for membership, and more than 800 people applied. Unsuccessful applicants may be contacted to participate in other ways with government in the future, notes the announcement of the council’s members.
With files from David Schmidt