Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

From the Editor: Life-long learning

March 1, 2023  By Alex Barnard

A bumblebee pollinating gooseberries. Photo courtesy of David Bianchi.

When was the last time you learned something new?

In January, I watched a virtual event on cyber security in agriculture, put on by the Canadian Agri-Food and Automation Intelligence Network (CAAIN). The panel focusing specifically on cyber sceurity in agriculture featured a discussion on how Canadian ag and agri-businesses can better protect themselves from attacks. One of the panellists discussed the importance of training yourself and your employees to recognize and mitigate potential problems before they become full-blown issues, and they emphasized the importance of refreshing or updating that training on an annual basis.

It makes sense, considering the pace at which computer technology moves – what is cutting edge now will be practically outdated in a couple years, if not less than a year. I’m a few years out from my education, which included elements of digital technology, and many of the practices discussed during the CAAIN webinar were basically Greek to me. 


But, considered in a wider context, there’s value in continuous learning in elements of our work and life that don’t change quite as rapidly.

I’m a firm believer that learning is something we should strive to do throughout our lives. Learning can be active or passive, big or small – by picking up this magazine, the hope is that you will learn something. It doesn’t need to be a formalized, classroom-style experience for it to count.

For those who appreciate the structure of traditional education, there are short courses and workshops out there; if you prefer a different format, there are thousands of webinars and podcasts that will impart whatever topic and depth of coverage you could hope to find. Being spoiled for choice can be overwhelming, so start small – focus on one thing and branch out from there.

And remember that learning can be as simple as chatting with other growers about crops or practices and evaluating their ideas in relation to your own experiences. Agriculture is an industry that has learning built into it by virtue of every year and every crop being different, considering the huge variety of factors both within and outside of your control. Peer-to-peer discussions of what did (and especially what didn’t) work in the field are invaluable in their practicality.

If you like to digest your information via audio, Fruit & Vegetable will be releasing a few podcast episodes over the next couple months, including one on Feb. 16. Be sure to listen in on our podcast channel, AgAnnex Talks.

And, if you’re in Ontario, be sure to check out the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention in Niagara Falls on Feb. 22 and 23. There are dozens of sessions over two days covering a variety of topics in fruit and vegetable production, including pest control, soil health, and crop-specific production practices and tips, as well as conversations to be had by the coffee table with fellow growers and the exhibitor’s hall. We’ll be there at booth 406, so come by to say hello! We’d love to chat with you.

Print this page


Stories continue below