Country Life in BC came away with a record nine awards from the annual Canadian Farm Writers Federation competition on October 5.
The paper’s team of writers and photographers came out tops in the Opinion, Current Affairs and business writing categories, and swept the top spots in the photography classes.
Reprising last year’s success, columnist Anna Helmer won gold for her March 2022 column, “Spring demands the old heave-ho,” which appealed to the judges for its sensitive take on the adjustments 100-lb sacks of seed potatoes force on the aging on-farm workforce. Together with Bob Collins’ gold award in 2021, this marked the fourth straight year Country Life in BC received top honours in the category.
Collins won silver in the opinion category this year for his observations on the impact climate change is having on the trees that stand watch over his farm in the September 2022 paper.
On the reporting side, Sandra Tretick won gold in the Current Affairs category for “Fallow deer rattle Mayne Island farmers,” a November 2022 report that delved into the decades-long issue precipitated by a once-promising livestock venture endorsed by the province.
This year also saw a first-ever success in the Business/Economics Writing category as Kate Ayers won gold for her report on farm co-operatives in the May 2022 paper and Tracey Fredrickson received silver for her October 2022 report on the influx of new arrivals – but not necessarily farmers – to rural communities during the pandemic.
All was gold on the photography side. Hannah Willms of Rose Prairie won gold in the Landscape category for her photo of sunflowers in the October 2022 paper.
Regular contributor Myrna Stark Leader handily won both the People and Production categories, with minimal quibbling from the judges with respect to cropping.
In the People category, Stark Leader’s won with her photo of Colleen Roberts planting vegetable seeds in a greenhouse at Peak Cellars Winery in Lake Country. A photo of Tantalus Vineyards assistant vineyard manager Scott Walsh harvesting grapes for ice wine uncorked gold for Stark Leader in the Production category.
In choosing between the two, however, the judges picked her photo of Colleen Roberts as its photo of the year, the second year in a row Stark Leader and Country Life in BC have won the honour.
This year’s tally of awards tops last year, when the paper came away with eight awards.
The annual Canadian Federation of Farm Writers awards honour the best in agricultural journalism across Canada.