Soil-health focused initiative announces new Knowledge Mobilization and Communications Coordinator
GUELPH, Ontario, May 5 – Soils may be cold and wet now, but the Soils at Guelph initiative warmly welcomes Heather Fraser White as the new Knowledge Mobilization and Communications Coordinator. The initiative aims to advance sustainable soil management in Ontario by making soil-related research available to those that could benefit from it.
She brings with her 20 years of experience in bringing people together to share knowledge, seek common solutions and have fun doing it.
“I have a deep respect for those who farm; these are men and women who work hard and manage operations that rely on so many variables”, says White.
“I see Farmers and the Soil as key partners in producing the food we eat. The Soils at Guelph initiative is part of the “Network of Neighbours” who must support both the farmer and the soil so that we can all be healthy and resilient into the 21st century.”
Prof. Laura Van Eerd, researcher at the Ridgetown Campus and one of the Co-Directors of the Soils at Guelph Team, says that “White is a born communicator and soils-enthusiast. Her understanding of the agricultural community and its many stakeholders will be a real asset in her role”.
White, who grew up in Chatham-Kent, spent her summers picking rocks, hoeing beans and walking endless rows of seed corn. She got her Bachelor of Science degree from the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) in Natural Resources Management and has research collaboration experience with the Ridgetown Campus, Soil Resource Group, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
White also recalls her time as the Executive Director at Romero House, an organization based in Toronto that welcomes refugees from around the world; “I often brought families new to Canada for a ‘field trip’ to Chatham-Kent to introduce them to the fields, farms and folks that were part of my own story. It wouldn’t be long before the people we met were able to communicate across language or cultural barriers and find things in common.”
White says she can apply this learning in her new role. “We know not all farmers or farms are the same, nor do they communicate in the same way as researchers sometimes do.” She adds, “But given the chance, the knowledge we each have can be shared and built upon to make a positive difference – for Farmers, for the Soil, and for us all”.
White lives in Guelph with her spouse, three elementary-school aged children, and a variety of family pets. She is a Climate Smart Soils Scholar and will soon complete her master’s degree in Capacity Development and Extension.
“Farming has changed a lot in Canada over the last century”, observes White. “I am excited to be part of the Soils at Guelph Team, to accompany the farmers, researchers, and others as farming and food adjusts to life in the 21st century”.
Soils at Guelph was established by a donation made in 2018 to mark World Soil Day. It aims to increase awareness of research initiatives, facilitate collaboration and knowledge exchange among stakeholders, and to educate on the importance of soil health.
If you would like more information about this announcement or the Soils at Guelph Initiative, please connect with Heather White, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit soilsatguelph.ca