Bridging the Gap via Fairs and Exhibitions
For almost 100 years, the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions (CAFE) has focused on helping our industry reach its full potential. We do this by organizing professional development and providing unique learning opportunities. We reach over 700 fair and exhibition organizations across Canada. Our industry sees more than 35 million visitors each year through their 17,000+ events, programs and activities, with an estimated economic impact of $2.9 billion on local communities. These time-tested organizations host premiere Canadian events that not only establish and maintain our national identity, but bridge the gap between consumer and producer with a variety of agricultural programs, activities and offerings.
Based on a 2008 study, we know:
42% of visitors want to learn more about agriculture and the environment at fairs and exhibitions
43% of visitors say "fairs are one of the only places where children learn about agriculture and food"
The main reason most people visit a fair or exhibition is to interact with the animals
Our events have been at the forefront of technological innovation and educational exchange for decades, having in the past been the only place where this information could be sought. Many people saw their first tractor, or new farm equipment at a local fair. Today, our events offer top-notch educational opportunities, particularly in relation to agriculture and healthy living. More than 50 per cent of individuals say the educational component of our events enhances their visits.
This is where CAFE's, Bridging the Gap via Fairs and Exhibitions project comes in.
The intent of this project is to capitalize on the opportunity to engage both consumers and producers when they gather at fairs and exhibitions. These events are one of the few locations where there is a diverse audience that are keen to learn about Canadian agriculture and so this project will allow fair and exhibition organizations to develop robust agricultural awareness zones that support consumer awareness of Canadian agriculture, sector awareness of consumer perceptions, and sustainable initiatives.
Ultimately, the primary purpose of this project is to ensure that agricultural community events and activities that interact with the public are able to provide the best education opportunities possible as it relates to agriculture and agri-food in order to grow and thereby develop public trust in the agricultural industry and to better connect Canadians with Canada's food system.
"Agricultural Awareness Zones"
This project will have fairs and exhibitions across Canada host "agricultural awareness zones" developed by CAFE at their event to deliberately enhance consumer awareness of Canadian agriculture, build sector awareness of consumer perceptions and share industry's efforts to endorse environmentally sustainable
The zones will be designed to have three stations within them that will have interactive information focused on:
Agricultural education (where does your food come from? How is it produced? As well as dispellingmyths through fun quizzes and activities)
A Q&A space for volunteer producers to engage in dialogue with consumers, to learn about their concerns. As well as a whiteboard/display where consumers can write questions/thoughts/concerns for producers visiting the event to see and respond to as they pass through on their own time.
Sustainable agricultural practices display, including new and upcoming technology, highlighting data of how agricultural practices have increased their sustainable practices over the past years.