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Discovery Centre Opens Window Into Food And Farming

It was a long way from a one-room schoolhouse to the University of Manitoba for Bruce Campbell, but the journey left him with the knowledge that agriculture is key, despite a growing disconnect between producers and consumers.

So I put my money where my mouth is, said Campbell, who took part in the opening of the Bruce D. Campbell Farm and Food Discovery Centre last week at the University of Manitoba s Glenlea Research Station south of Winnipeg.

An agricultural entrepreneur whose businesses included Elite Swine, Campbell was one of the donors behind the $5 million, 8,280 square-foot facility that now bears his name.

We all need to understand the value of this critical industry, which impacts not only our dinner table, but also our health, the environment and the economy, Campbell said, adding he has seen many positive changes to the study of agriculture during the 50 years he has been associated with the university, including the arrival of women and international students.

Now he hopes the centre will bring an appreciation of where food comes from to a new generation.

Michael Trevan, dean of the university s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, shares that hope.

What I hope the centre will bring is an understanding of agriculture, a knowledge of where food comes from and the complexity of some of the science and technology that brings it to your supper table, he said.

He noted that 25 per cent of Manitoba s economy is based on agriculture, if not through direct production, then through transportation or the development of value-added products.

However, the dean emphasized the impact of agriculture is felt worldwide.

To me it s important that everyone has an understanding of what it takes to produce food, because to me the major challenge the world is facing isn t coming from climate change, it s got to do with how are we going to feed another three billion people over the next 40 years, said Trevan. That s not going to be my problem, it s going to be the next generation s problem.

One member of that next generation

was ready to rise to that challenge.

Ten-year-old Claririe Signatovich was on hand for the grand opening, and excited to learn about where her food comes from.

I think it s all really, really interesting. I especially liked the pigs, they were my favourite, gushed the Grade 5 student. I will want to bring my friends here.

Visitors at the centre are able to walk though a mockup of a biohazard shower before taking a peek into a working hog barn through four expansive windows featuring different stages in hog production.

Examples of other farm animals are also featured and there is an opportunity to grind your own flour, as well as check out soil samples from the Red River Valley.

Well over a hundred people attended the grand opening, including many donors, dignitaries, academics and representatives of agricultural industry.

Karl Kynoch of the Manitoba Pork Council noted he plans to make use of the centre s meeting facilities to help showcase Manitoba farming practices, and presented the centre with an additional $20,000 in support.

There has been a huge decrease from the farm, with the vast shrinking of the number of farms, and we believe that the Farm and Food Discovery Centre will be a very valuable tool in closing that gap, he said.

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Ithinkit sallreally,really interesting.Iespecially likedthepigs,they weremyfavourite.

CLARIRIE SIGNATOVICH

About the author

Reporter

Shannon VanRaes is a journalist and photojournalist at the Manitoba Co-operator. She also writes a weekly urban affairs column for Metro Winnipeg, and has previously reported for the Winnipeg Sun, Outwords Magazine and the Portage Daily Graphic.

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