Author: Adean Alessandrini, Edmonton Workshop Facilitator
From November 6-8, Relay Education had the opportunity to participate in the 2019 Farmfair International at the Edmonton Expo Center in Edmonton, Alberta.
Farmfair International is one of the top agricultural shows in the country. It is an event where guests come from around the world to showcase livestock, share trade secrets and network with one another. One feature of FarmFair International is the Explore Agriculture event. Explore Agriculture is an educational event where teachers and their classes from kindergarten to grade 6 get the opportunity to experience FarmFair in a special way. Different stations were set up for the classes to experience aspects of farming and agriculture through hands-on activities. This is where Relay came in.
Relay was invited to host an activity for the touring classes. Relay’s focus is on renewable energy, so it was important to ensure that a connection was made between renewable energy and farming. That connection was that renewable energy generation offers an alternative use of agricultural land for farmers.
Wind energy and farming have gone hand in hand with each other for centuries. Today, this relationship continues but in a slightly different way. Wind turbines can be installed onto farmers properties and can supply the farmer with a long-term source of income. Each turbine uses only a small portion of the farmland, so farming can continue relatively undisturbed. Solar energy is also an interesting option for farmers. Solar generated energy can reduce the overall operation costs for the farmer and help them to become more self-sustainable.
The purpose of Relay’s participation in Farmfair International was to teach the classes walking through about renewable energy and discuss with them how it can be connected to farming and agriculture. The first activity was using the wind turbines to generate enough electricity to power lightbulbs. This demonstrated to the classes the potential of full-sized wind turbines in power generation. The second activity was similar but instead utilized solar power to generate electricity and demonstrated its potential for power generation.
Farmfair was an awesome event to attend. The response we had from all of the guests was overwhelmingly positive. Individuals from varying backgrounds were able to stop by and share their thoughts, opinions, and stories about renewable energy and its relationship with farming. Additionally, school groups were able to learn firsthand how renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, can generate electricity, and the importance of a collaborative relationship with agriculture moving forward.