I recently had the pleasure of being the speaker for the Alberta Seed Growers banquet to kick off FarmTech conference week in my hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. After my presentation, titled: The Influence of Bloggers on Agriculture and Why I Agvocate, an audience member genuinely asked me if I got paid to do the work that I do. He noted that I must spend hours and hours fact-checking, researching and writing the articles that I do on this blog…so do I get paid? Or do I do it all for free?
My answer is that I do it all for free because it’s something I’m very passionate about, but it truly is a full-time job done in my spare time. The whole reason why I started blogging about agriculture and the controversial topics that often coincide, is because I didn’t want my parenting peers to be scared of all the misinformation about our food system out there. As a mom-to-be, when you first see that positive pink line on your home pregnancy test, you want to do everything you can to take care of that baby right from the beginning. In our information-rich social media world, moms and dads flock to the Internet and social media for advice on all things parenting, and it’s no surprise that they come across a lot of info on food and agriculture (both good and bad) when they’re online.
I am starting to supplement our income with speaking opportunities, yes, and that is such a blessing! However, the articles that I share on my blog formed from the questions that I ask myself, like “Are Vegetarian Chicken Eggs Healthier?” all have hours and hours and HOURS of research, reading, emailing, interviewing and writing behind them. Not to mention the photo taking, photo editing and graphic making that I do for almost, if not all, my posts. The more I don’t know about a topic, especially involving aspects of farming that we don’t do on our farm like animal agriculture, the more work that goes into it. I want to be held accountable for the information that I share with my readers and I want to make sure it’s accurate. I pride myself on providing citations and links supporting the articles that I write so that anyone who reads it can easily seek more in depth information if they need to.
Not all of the work that I do is “free”, in the sense I get paid in experiences and opportunities. My husband and I were invited to attend CropLife Canada’s Grow Canada conference last month in Ottawa, I was sent to the Food Bloggers of Canada conference in Vancouver by the Manitoba Canola Growers, and I will be going to the Farm & Food Care conference in Ontario in April to speak at their meeting and on a panel. I was also invited to attend the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference in Calgary in April with Syngenta Canada and I will be volunteering my time at the GMO Answers booth at the SXSW Conference in Austin, TX in March. Those are all cities I would have/will not have likely ever visited on my own accord and it’s been such an honour to be asked and invited to attend these events. I truly love the community that I’ve connected with both on and offline in the agvocacy circles and I’m always looking forward to the next opportunity to advance my knowledge and experiences in agriculture as an agvocate.
So do I get paid? For speaking engagements—yes. For my writing and social media agvocacy—no. It’s also important to note that when I give presentations, it’s 100% my own material and opinion—I do not promote any products or speak on behalf of any company or brand.