St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Though Emily Bland grew up on an egg farm, her dream was to make a career as far away from it as possible.
“I swore I’d never go back!” she says.
Instead, she imagined herself wearing a power suit and working in the business world.
Now studying commerce and economics at Memorial University, Emily has become an active volunteer with Enactus, a group that brings students, educators and business leaders to undertake social action.
Through this experience, Emily’s view of her future has changed: Her career may not lie on an egg farm, but agriculture is sure to play a big part in it.
“I was determined to end up somewhere in the business world,” says Emily. “But the more I progressed towards my degree, the more I missed being involved with agriculture.”
The two unique Enactus projects brought her back to her roots.
One, called aGreenCulture, is an environmental audit program for the agriculture sector. It pairs local companies with agricultural enterprises, allowing companies to offset their carbon emissions by investing in environmentally friendly improvements in farms, such as LED light bulbs or solar panels.
Often, says Emily, companies contemplating corporate social responsibility measures make their contributions in developing countries. This program, she says, allows local companies to offset their carbon emissions locally.
The second project, called SuccSeed, involves using recycled materials to create hydroponic gardens. The gardens can grow food in isolated northern communities and help primary and secondary school students learn about agriculture by growing plants in the classroom.
As she worked on those projects, Emily came to see how the knowledge she had built working on the family egg farm could be useful in the business world.
Business people need to understand how things work at the most basic level, she says. Because she did chores on the egg farm, she gained valuable insight into the farm operation at all levels. She is convinced those insights will make her a better business person.
She has also seen first-hand how agriculture can improve people’s lives.
“You hear about the humble egg and how nutritious it is,” she says. “I have had the opportunity to go to third-world countries and see the difference an egg can make there. It’s incredible!”
When she completes her undergraduate degree, Emily plans to pursue a career in agricultural economics and work in the agricultural sector–perhaps for Egg Farmers of Canada.
In the meantime, she wants to get more young people involved in agriculture–and aware of where their food comes from.
She says young people today hear that most of the jobs they will work on in the future have not been created yet. As a result, they worry about what sector to go into.
But people will always need food, she argues, and so that makes agriculture a good bet for the future.
“Have a passion for agriculture and you will open yourself up to getting a job,” she says.
Agriculture, she adds, is more than just growing food. It’s about marketing, accounting and corporate social responsibility.
And it makes a difference in people’s lives, here and abroad.