In June, the Farm To Fork team packed its bags and headed to Newfoundland for a week of learning, networking, and adventuring at CUExpo 2013. Held every two years, the conference brings together academics, students, community leaders, and government officials for four days to share ideas and inspiration on effective community-university partnerships.
In short, it was an invigorating experience. We were able to make great connections with folks doing community-university projects from all over the world. We both learned from and shared what we’d learned with these fine folks. The sessions we attended were illuminating, but the real value of the conference was in these informal meetings and chats that happened throughout the week. Working on a project like Farm To Fork, it can sometimes be a challenge to not get isolated from the larger picture, but spending nearly a week immersed in the C-U universe helped to connect our team to what’s going on out there.
Oh, did we mention we presented a session on Farm To Fork? Well we did. Along with Kate, one of our community partners, we gave a well-received talk on Farm To Fork (what it is and what we’ve learned by doing it) to a small, but enthusiastic audience. We got some great feedback that we’re working to incorporate into the project and our launch in October.
A tiny aside: in one of our sessions, a fellow attendee was surprised to hear that we didn’t have a written framework that guides Farm To Fork. That level of formality isn’t normally part of our modus operandi, but it struck us as something useful. Here’s what we came up with:
- Ask the right questions.
- Listen more than you talk.
- Work with the right people.
- Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot.
- Do something.
Not bad, right?
Beyond the conference, we did not miss the chance to explore Corner Brook and Western Newfoundland. The team was able to enjoy a number of most excellent day trips out of the city to explore the natural surroundings. Be advised, Newfoundland is as beautiful and rugged as you have been led to believe – Gros Morne National Park should not be missed. Now you might not consider our day trips ‘official Farm To Fork business’, but the adventures, the stories, and the laughs made for some terrific team building.
In the weeks since we’ve been back, our team has been working feverishly to bring Farm To Fork to the beta testing stage thanks, in part, to an injection of energy from our week in Newfoundland.
Thanks CUExpo 2013. You’re ok in our books.