International Women’s Day – Margo Riebe-Butt

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role in the agriculture industry in Nova Scotia

As a Registered Dietitian and Executive Director of Nourish Nova Scotia, my role is as a champion, advocate and connector supporting the Agriculture industry in NS.

Very early in the development of Nourish, the Board devised a set of values and principles to guide our work. Support for local was one of those 6 principles which we still live by 10 years later.  At every opportunity we communicate, promote, and action opportunities for children and youth in Nova Scotia to be local food consumers and to connect farm to plate. 

As an example…Alongside farmers and community members we developed our “Nourish Your Roots” farm to school fundraising program in 2015. Today school-aged children can sell boxes of NS farm fresh food as a fundraiser that in turn supports their own school food programs. It’s a win-win! The purpose of NYR is to connect children and families to the healthy, local, and sustainable, food choices available from Nova Scotia farmers while increasing awareness about local agriculture and financially supporting both the schools and local farms.

More recently we’ve been working to advance a Canada-wide, universal school food program. We’ve surfaced opportunities for local food systems (from farms to chefs) to be integrated into a federally funded, but locally run school food program. The possibilities are endless. Part of my role is to help  all groups to see the possibilities and benefits the agriculture sector in NS can bring to our local economy, environment and ultimately, the health of our children.

On a personal level I’m in awe of all the women in agriculture I’m fortunate to know…those that lead, inform, grow and share.

What is one message you would like to share about women in agriculture for International Women’s Day?

The women I know who work in the agriculture sector are passionate about what they do…There is significant power in that passion—it helps to advance the sector in a complimentary way-from an emotional perspective as well as an intellectual one.  I personally have a deep appreciation for the dedication and work required to be a farmer/producer in Nova Scotia. These women are some of the smartest entrepreneurs going who deserve much respect and reverence.