Who I am: Judy Unterschultz recently retired as the Executive Director of the Heritage Agricultural Society (Multicultural Heritage Centre) located in Stony Plain, Alberta, after a 26-year career in the not-for-profit industry. Judy’s working career involved the operation of a complex not-for-profit network of agricultural and cultural programs to rural and small urban regions, plus extensive experience in governance and relationship management of a wide and diverse range of stakeholders, including small and large businesses, senior executive clients and not-for-profit clients of all descriptions. Her career required collaboration with executive partners from other lines of business for mutual benefits and experience working with and leading multiple partners in a collaborative environment.
Why I think Agriculture is Where It’s At: Until recently the need for agriculture education programs was not evident as most Albertans were associated with the agriculture industry. Those connections included direct involvement in primary production, having their business impacted by the agriculture economy or individuals experienced agriculture through friends or family engaged in farming. With Alberta’s demographics changing from a rural to an urban-based population over the last few generations, the result is a gap in general knowledge about food, food production, and the potential opportunities for employment within Alberta’s second largest industry.
Why Ag for Life: No one organization, government department, commodity group or educational institution has the capacity to create scalable, quality agriculture education/farm safety programs, nor the ability to ensure sustainable funding to provide these same programs in an ongoing manner. It is also difficult to engage expert staffing to deliver the programs or to allow the synergy and funds to provide a critical mass of effort in achieving a common goal. Ag for Life is unique in bringing these elements and numerous sectors (corporate, not-for-profit, industry, individuals wishing to participate) together for mutual benefit.