Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending the 8th Annual Women in Agriculture dinner presented by the University of Alberta Ceres Alberta Women’s Fraternity. What a great evening and what a great group of young women who are interested in promoting agriculture! Thanks to Stacy Berry, a neighbor and current fraternity member for inviting me.
I checked out their website and learned that Ceres (pronounced “series”) is the Roman goddess of agricultural fertility, particularly that of grains. Ceres is also representative of the historical involvement and importance of women in agriculture. The word “cereal” originates from her name.
Ceres started in the United States in 1985, as an extension of the FarmHouse Men’s agricultural fraternity and a Canadian chapter was started here in Alberta in 1986. As stated in their object, Ceres is committed to building qualities of leadership, to building meaningful fellowship, and to building a desire for scholastic achievement. The commitment to Ceres is predicated on the values and ideals of a rural environment and offers lifelong sisterhood to women with an appreciation of agriculture. I’d venture to say they live these values and having a great time – university isn’t all books and studying. It’s about having fun, stretching yourself and exploring opportunities!
Following a delicious dinner, our guest speaker for evening was Dr. Susan Markus, a Beef Research Specialist with Alberta Agriculture and also an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta. Dr. Markus shared her story about being a woman in agriculture and how her life and career goals had changed over time. She focused on the tremendous opportunities that are out there for women in agriculture and shared that she believes that women represent the future for agriculture. Dr. Markus talked about the fact that consumers are removed from farming and food production more and more – this isn’t news. She does feel that as more women are interested in agriculture, they need to share and teach about agricultural practices and tell the stories around farming. I agree wholeheartedly!
Here is a picture of our future leaders. While not all the Ceres fraternity members have focused their studies in the agricultural profession, their backgrounds are rooted in farming and the rural life and they continue to be passionate advocates for our industry.
As part of the evening a silent auction was held and I scored this absolutely lovely platter!
Ceres has a cookbook for sale ($15.00) which supports their organization. It is filled with family favorite recipes such as Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Garlic & Thyme, Mom’s Meatloaf, and Tater Surprise. I know that these kind of cookbooks are the best on my shelf – the recipes that are included have stood the test of time. Contact the Ceres organization if you’d like your own copy. Here’s a recipe I picked out that I’m going to try soon. Coincidentally, this recipe comes courtesy of Cathryn Thompson, a member of my local 4-H club.
1 ½ cups corneal
2 ½ cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup white sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400oF. In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean.