Posts in Uncategorized

Award winning Grow Our People Unconference set to roll for 2024

February 1, 2024 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Award winning Grow Our People Unconference set to roll for 2024”

Guelph, ON – Agriculture is facing one of its greatest challenges with labour shortages and a pending wave of retirees leaving in the next decade.  The Grow Our People Unconference is designed to help those who work in agriculture and food in Canada – to build new skills, grow deeper networks, and gain a renewed sense of enthusiasm for our agri-food sector. 

“We call Grow Our People an ‘unconference’ experience as it’s unlike any other event in agriculture,” shares Brenda Trask, event co-founder. “We created it to bring people together from across sectors with a focus on people and skills, and have some fun at the same time.”

Event organizers Crystal Mackay, Mary Thornley and Brenda Trask came together in 2022 to create this event with the vision for a unique experience to equip people with skills and connections to help grow themselves, their businesses, and the agri-food sector.  They were recognized with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture’s Excellence in Agriculture Award in 2023 for this innovative event experience and their dedication to making it happen.

Dr. Rumeet Billan, Chief Learning Architect for Viewpoint Leadership, will kick off the event the evening of May 28th with her profound keynote on The Science of Trust and Belonging.  The remainder of the event is comprised of interactive workshops focusing on skills such as communications, leadership, advocacy, and human resources.  While these skills are valuable for any human, three streams of sessions will be set up for: individual leaders early in their career, people who manage people, and board members. 

The spirit of the event, to elevate people in agriculture and celebrate with good food, comes to life with a very special early bird registration offer.  Everyone who registers before March 1, 2024 will be entered to win a private flight over southwestern Ontario hosted by pilots who also happen to be farmers, along with a $250 gift certificate for dinner. 

The Grow Your People Unconference will be held in-person at the Queen’s Landing vintage hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake from May 28-30, 2024. Registration for this ‘unconference’ event experience is now open at

Attendees will leave the event with new skills, deeper networks, and a renewed sense of enthusiasm for our agri-food sector.  Register yourself, your board, or your team today. Find out more at

Grow Our People Agenda

January 29, 2024 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Grow Our People Agenda”


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Draft Agenda – Grow Our People

January 23, 2024 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Draft Agenda – Grow Our People”

Van Camp named one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in Canadian Agriculture

January 4, 2022 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Van Camp named one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in Canadian Agriculture”

Posted February 24, 2021

Mackay named one of 2021 Most Influential Women in Canadian Agriculture

January 4, 2022 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Mackay named one of 2021 Most Influential Women in Canadian Agriculture”

Stefanie Croley, editorial director, agriculture, chats with Mackay in this episode of AgAnnexTalks, the first in this year’s series of podcasts with seven Influential Women in Canadian Agriculture.  Crystal Mackay is an agriculture advocate, entrepreneur and much more. Currently the founder/CEO of Loft32, which works to elevate businesses, people and the conversations on food and farming, Mackay has been described as “doing the heavy lifting” of launching successful structures and programs in the ag industry for more than 30 years.

Posted June 14, 2021 by Stefanie Croley

Mackay named Food Day Canada Coordinator

January 4, 2022 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Mackay named Food Day Canada Coordinator”

A University of Guelph alumna and well-known advocate for Canadian food and farming has been named coordinator of Food Day Canada.

Crystal Mackay, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’93, will take on the role of leading the planning of Canada’s largest culinary celebration.

“Food Day Canada is the very essence of what I’ve worked towards over my entire career – building positive, proactive conversations about food and farming,” said Mackay. “Bringing our country together and bridging gaps between consumers, farmers and many food system partners is truly a celebration I am proud to be part of.”

Read more here  U of G Alumna Named Food Day Canada Coordinator – U of G News (

Posted 06/15/2021 by University of Guelph News Release

Farm Succession Planning “Because I Love You” List

December 30, 2021 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Farm Succession Planning “Because I Love You” List”

By Loft32 founder Maggie Van Camp.

It’s hard to think about, but if you were to die suddenly, do your family and business partners have the critical information they need to move forward? Create a “Because I love you” list by filling out the fields on the file attached. It will help you organize key personal and business information in one place and provide peace of mind when people need it most.  (French & English)

Online media training programs launched

June 30, 2021 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Online media training programs launched”

New training resources and coaching for people in agriculture and food

Training program launched to help those new to working with farmers

March 24, 2021 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Training program launched to help those new to working with farmers” provides online training and access to experts in agriculture and food

London, ON –  February 23, 2021 – While everyone has to eat, a surprisingly low percentage of us know the people who farm.  So…Your Client is a Farmer is a new online training resource that aims to change that.

“Farmers are a unique bunch, and no two farms are the same,” explained Cherilyn Jolly-Nagel, farmer and program co-founder.   “We designed this training on specifically to help people learn how to be more successful in their business relationships with farmers.”

The team combined their own extensive backgrounds and reached out to farmers and experienced service providers from across North America to create a practical program with the most relevant content. The response was overwhelming.  Farmers readily shared their advice for and frustrations with those who deliver products, services or programs that impact them and their businesses.

The new training program also includes valuable insights from respected agriculture leaders – the Hon. Gerry Ritz, retired Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; Mary Robinson, Canadian Federation of Agriculture President; and Jay Bradshaw, agri-business leader and retired President of Syngenta Canada. 

Crystal Mackay, program co-founder shared, “We want to welcome new people into agriculture, as well as equip those already working in it, to be more confident with their understanding of farm businesses.”   She added, “It will also be valuable for those working in policy or programs related to farmers to have a resource to increase understanding of their clients.”

The So…Your Client is a Farmer training program takes approximately 90 minutes to complete online and is available anytime. It includes a self-evaluation, a one-hour training video, training guide, and certificate of completion.  It will be useful for onboarding new employees, and also for engaging and training existing team members. is designed to be a toolbox of clear and practical content, training and expertise about farming and the entire food system. This new training program adds to the list, which includes Grow Your Brand and Introduction to Media Training, all designed specifically for those working in the food system.  In addition to online training, Utensil 101 is a resource centre for increasing content knowledge, with experts available for personalized coaching or project support.  Register for training and find out more at

Connecting farms, facts and feelings through storytelling

October 6, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Connecting farms, facts and feelings through storytelling”

Our CEO Crystal Mackay and two ranchers share tips for engaging audiences through video and social media platforms

Posted Oct. 2nd, 2020 by Tara Mulhern Davidson