RAWF Education Symposium: Embracing Multiple Perspectives in Agri-food Sustainability

Five photos; first photo a bee collecting pollen on a flower, second is a plant sprouting out of the soil, third is a dairy cow, fourth is a tractor plowing a field, fifth is a canola field

Date and Time


This is a virtual event. You will receive a link to log in to the event in your confirmation email. 


High school students and educators are invited to join us virtually at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair's Annual Education Symposium, hosted by the OAC Student Liaison Program. This two-part event includes a keynote talk and panel discussion about sustainability in the agri-food sector from multiple perspectives, including indigenous and western points of view. 

Keynote: Braiding Knowledge: Growing a Healthier Food System from Our Roots Down

10:00 am-10:45 am

Amanda Hutter

Founder & Ecosystem Services Technician at Green Feet Ecosystem Services

Born in the Ottawa Valley of settler Hungarian, British, and other mixed ancestry, Amanda Hutter happily confesses that she is a [quote] "Mutt who exists between many ancestral lines, without ever belonging to one." Her mother was a dance teacher and creative artist. Her father was a mathematician and the management engineer of a nuclear power plant. She credits them, above all, with who she is. She grew up in the Huron Fringe woodlands of Lake Huron, exploring ecosystems from her family's dogsled, canoe, or using her two feet and a heartbeat. Love and respect for the land and what it gives us was the glue that held her family together. She holds a BA in Anthropology from Waterloo, Environmental Techniques from Georgian College, Environmental Conservation from Guelph, and began her MSc of Natural Resources Management at Lakehead, which she happily put on hold to become a mother. Between schooling, she worked in environmental stewardship roles often between the spectrum of Land Management and Indigenous Food Security. This brought her to work in Honduras, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Cuba as well as from New Brunswick to BC, all the way across Canada. She has supported the structural, planning, management, research, or labor work of over 30+ different organizations throughout this time until she decided to begin her own Environmental Social Enterprise in 2012. Called ‘Green Feet Ecosystem Services, which provides aerial imaging and analysis, environmental project support, and seasonal services, she doesn’t do this work alone. She works collaboratively with a growing network of over 100+ experts and allies who share in the work towards her organization's goal of restoring, protecting, and enjoying ecosystem services. Amanda recently completed her MSc in Capacity Development and Extension program at the University of Guelph, her work focused on creating an environmental communication process for farmers and Aniishnaabe using drones. Amanda will also be joining us for the panel discussion.

Panel Discussion: Multiple Perspectives in Agri-food Sustainability

11:00 am-11:45 am

Barry Hill

Barry Hill and his wife Cheryle operate Hillsfield Farms, 1500-acre grain and oilseeds farm on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. He has worked constantly to promote agriculture both as a business and as an asset to the Six Nations community. He was designated a Community Treasure in 2011. Barry has served on many organizations; as President of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, President of the Brant County Federation of Agriculture, founder of the First Nations AgriGroup, a founding director of the Integrated Grain Processors Cooperative Ethanol Plant, and a Board Member of the Two Rivers Community Development Fund.  He has also been a panel member and a consultant to the Six Nations Economic Development Department.  He has been Brant County Farmer of the year, a BMO Farm family winner, and inducted in the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2018.  In 2019, he was conferred by the University of Guelph with an Honorary Degree, LLD. Prior to returning to the farm in 1996, he had a long career in engineering, having graduated from McMaster with an M.Eng degree in 1968.

Kyra Lightburn 

Kyra Lightburn comes from a family of devoted gardeners on Vancouver Island. Kyra completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at McGill University, before enrolling in OAC’s Bachelor of Science in Agriculture - Organic Agriculture program in 2012. 13 years of planting trees in the coastal mountain ranges of BC and the spruce swamps of Northern Alberta helped ignite Kyra’s passion for understanding biological systems and methods of minimizing the human impact on biodiversity and natural ecosystems meanwhile producing adequate resources to promote healthy communities worldwide. Kyra is currently completing a Ph.D., researching how grassland management impacts native pollinator communities, and how best to conserve biodiversity and pollination services in agricultural landscapes. In 2019 Kyra was awarded the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Kyra also taught the University of Guelph’s Intro to Organic Agriculture course in 2020.

Caleb Niemeyer

Caleb is an Agronomist and Precision Agriculture Specialist at Woodrill Ltd. He grew up in Stouffville, Ontario, and completed a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of Guelph. He completed his Masters of Science in Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph and is currently working towards a Ph.D. focusing on applying digital soil mapping for use in agriculture. The objective of this research is to promote more sustainable agricultural systems by optimizing spatial applications of crop inputs such as fertilizers and fungicides. 

Register Now

Please note this event has been planned for high school students and educators, however the general public is welcome to attend. 

Contact Information

Carleigh Johnston, OAC Liaison Manager

Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph



No Cost