Earth Day with a Farmer
Interview with Hannah Konschuh
Happy Earth Day! Earth Day began 50 years ago to raise awareness of environmental consciousness and the health of our planet. There’s nothing more important than the Earth, and nobody knows that better than farmers. For farmers, the land is their office and their home; From seeding in the spring to harvest in the fall, our farmers are committed to producing safe, healthy and sustainable food, for Canadians and beyond.
We caught up with Alberta Wheat Farmer, Hannah Konschuh, to ask her about farming, and how she cares for the earth every single day.
Why did you choose to start farming?
A number of things brought me back to my family farm, but namely, the opportunity to work with family, to operate my own business, and of course, the chance to grow food!
What do you find most rewarding about farming?
I get to use many skills on a daily basis as a farmer and I love the variety of what I get to do and learn, including mechanics, analytics, finance and agronomy, to name a few. Also, knowing that the high-quality grains I grow will be consumed here in Canada and internationally is pretty cool too. I could go on!
What does environmental stewardship and sustainability mean to you?
Every decision we make for our fields is based on stewardship and sustainability, because what’s best for the land is best for our business and the grains, pulses, and oilseeds grown there. One example of environmental stewardship we practice is “no-till” seeding, where we disturb the soil the least amount possible when planting to conserve moisture, protect soil structure, prevent erosion and encourage soil organic matter development and resilient microbial communities. This practice also sequesters carbon – my fields are carbon sinks.
What do you think is the most important thing for people to know about farming?
The majority of farms in Canada (98%)*, big and small, are family owned and operated. To use a cliché, farming as a career isn’t for the faint of heart, and we do it because we feel connected to our businesses, the land and the food we grow.
Before we go, we have to ask…What’s your favourite wheat recipe?
Saucy chocolate pudding cake from Julie Van Rosendaal’s new cookbook dirty food is at the top of my list right now. My family ate it up while tucked away in quarantine and I learned that my mom’s mom used to make a few versions of this cake. It’s delicious.
*Source: The Real Dirt on Farming II, Food & Farm Care Ontario, 2010