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Montreal teenager has new appreciation for food after Forum for Young Canadians workshop

Yoad Vered will never look at eggs the same way.

The 16-year-old Montreal high school student was in Ottawa recently to take part in Forum for Young Canadians, a leadership program for teens from across the country.

He and the other students got to meet with politicians, learn about the political process and see how government can affects different aspects of our lives, including the food we eat.

Yoad says one component of the program, a joint workshop presented by Egg Farmers of Canada and Chicken Farmers of Canada, really opened his eyes to the issues and challenges around food.

“I didn’t think there was so much behind getting eggs to the store,” he says, explaining that he had never much thought about food and food production.

All of a sudden, he says, he realized that eggs are the result of a long and interconnected chain that includes farmers, suppliers, shippers and retailers.

“It’s not just an egg,” he says. “It’s an egg that was grown and shipped and taken care of. The workshop taught me that there’s a lot of effort into bringing fresh, local food to the stores.”

Yoad says he also learned that government policies can have a direct effect on food.

The students also learned about supply management, which allows farmers to plan their production and provide a steady supply of fresh and locally produced food that efficiently reflects changes in demand, preventing sudden price shifts, among other things.

Yoad came out of the workshop with a strong feeling about the importance of supporting local farmers.

He says he will make sure to tell his parents to pay attention to the origins of the food they buy, and to favour Canadian products.

Egg Farmers of Canada and Chicken Farmers of Canada are the Visionary Sponsors of Forum for Young Canadians.

This partnership is a way of fostering and encouraging tomorrow’s leaders, says Tim Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of Egg Farmers of Canada, and a reflection of Egg Farmers’ commitment to the future.

Yoad, who is the president of his school’s Environment Club and involved with its student council, was thrilled with the whole Forum experience. He says it made governance real to him, humanized politicians, and got him thinking about a career in politics himself.

He also says he learned that ordinary citizens’ words and actions do matter. When people tell others how they feel and what they think, they really do contribute to the debate and influence the opinions of those around them.

So it’s important, he says, for people to let others know what they think – including about how important locally produced foods are to our lives.