Three Canadians and an American
The great European IFAJ adventure of 2008 started off with a bipartisan meeting of Canada and the United States in Paris.
My fellow Canadian travelers, Kelly Daynard and Kim Waalderbos, and I decided not to miss the opportunity to spend a few days in Paris while making our way to Austria for the start of the International Federation of Agriculture Journalists (IFAJ) 2008 congress.
For me, it was also a chance to spend some quality time with my American friend Kelly Stange, who lives and works in Brussels, a quick, slightly-more-than-an hour train ride away. We’ve been friends ever since we were both exchange students together at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. More than a decade, several degrees, multiple jobs and many moves later, these two farm girls – one from Missouri and one from Ontario – make a point of getting together when we can, wherever we can.
The common thread of agriculture is what ended up tying all of us together during our brief sejour in Paris – a common history of growing up on family farms and now shared careers working for and with farmers, whether in advocacy, promotion, or policy.
We didn’t discover much direct evidence of farmers in Paris, but the food we experienced was fabulous. Few people in the world take food and drink more seriously than the French, and the delectable dishes, breads and patisseries that French chefs, boulangers and patissiers create from the bounty of a harvest is truly an experience to savour.
With full stomachs, lighter wallets and some lovely memories, we have gone our separate ways. The American has returned to Belgium and the three Canadians are off to Slovakia to start our pre-Congress tour of food and farming in and around the Bratislava area. I can hardly wait for what awaits us next!!