With a wide array of careers in the Ontario agri-food sector, there are many opportunities for students and job seekers. From marketing, producing, selling, processing, researching, lobbying or teaching, the career paths for agriculture and food are endless.
If you are a student currently considering a career path in agri-food, for every student with an agricultural education, there are four jobs waiting for them when they graduate. If you have skills or an education outside of agriculture, there is a place for you too. Virtually every field of study and expertise can be utilized and is highly valued in the agri-food sector.
The #FeatureYourFuture social media campaign was launched to share the stories of people in various jobs across the industry. By showcasing their journey into agri-food, we hope their path inspires you to consider a rewarding career in the sector. We will highlight some of their stories below. Visit our YouTube channel to see Agri-Food Career Spotlights. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
“My goal is to enhance the agriculture sector back home, to take the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired to really make a difference.”Learn more
E’layna originally grew up in the Bahamas which has given her a unique perspective and influence on her interests in agriculture. E’layna moved to Canada three years ago to begin her studies at the University of Guelph and is now in her fourth year. She enrolled in the Food Agriculture and Resource Economics program with a goal of retaining valuable knowledge to put into practice in her home community.
E’layna has always been highly motivated to expand her knowledge and she is grateful for each of the opportunities that the University of Guelph has offered her and never would have imagined the portal of opportunities that she would be exposed to. E’layna is proud to describe the agriculture sector as a collective effort that you can’t help but love to be apart of. Despite various challenges she has faced in pursuing this pathway, she enjoys that agriculture is something that continues to challenge her to keep growing and learning beyond academics.
“I am a lifelong learner and agriculture is a field where you are always learning.”Learn more
Meghan graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph. Meghan once pictured herself in the human health field but this soon changed as her interest in plants continued to grow. Spending her summers working as a research assistant for the Weeds Department at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus, Meghan realized how much she loved to learn about this part of agriculture.
Meghan’s inspiration stemmed from her grandfathers passion to farm and their close relationship. He was always happy to share his own farming experiences and pass on his knowledge about crops and livestock. This has led her to always think of agriculture in a positive light. It has also come to mean so much more through education and experiences. Meghan has come to embrace agriculture for its countless opportunities and loves to share her interests and knowledge with friends and family.
“It was always my dream to start a business and I knew that agriculture definitely presented a host of entrepreneurial opportunity”Learn more
Ben is a writer for the Toronto Star, sharing a column with his Father about gardening, food and the environment. He is also a proud entrepreneur as founder of Cullen’s Foods, aiming to transparently provide the best quality products in a way that improves physical health, our environment and our communities. Ben obtained an Associate Diploma in Agriculture as well as a Bachelor of Commerce, giving him background to start his own business.
Ben’s initial introduction to plant production was through his Dad and Grandpa who worked in the nursery-retail business in the GTA. He discovered his love of working outdoors through summer jobs in high school on the greens crew at a local golf course. His boss encouraged him to pursue greens management which led him to explore possibilities in agriculture that presented a more diverse range of opportunities than he imagined. He has learned the importance of putting yourself out there and embracing the circumstances where opportunities exist. With a deep interest in food, he was excited to realize there was an opportunity for these interests to come together. Ben has always admired the entrepreneurial spirit of farmers and agri-businesses that play a large role in the agriculture industry. People in agriculture, farmers especially, understand his goals as a founder and are extremely supportive.
“Agriculture connects and builds communities, provides jobs and economic development opportunities. There are endless roles beyond those who grow our food and get it to our plate.”Learn more
Megan has followed a unique path, connecting interests in health science and the agri-food sector. She is a Post-doctoral Fellow at McMaster University creating impact from research and helping inform evidence-based decision making and has also started her own consulting company. Megan has earned three post-secondary degrees, all at the University of Guelph. An Honours Bachelor Science (BSc) in Nutrition and Nutraceutical Sciences, and a Master of Science (MSc) in Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, as well as a Doctorate in Philosophy in Human Health and Nutritional Sciences.
With a heavy academic background in health science, and no background in agriculture, Megan was first exposed to the relationship between health and agri-food during her Masters program. She was involved in the Agri-Food for Healthy Aging research group which works to improve well-being of older adults through food. Following this, her PhD research focused on communicating the importance of dairy products and alternatives for bone health and growth to adolescents. Working with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO), opened Megan’s eyes further to the key links between nutrition, health and our agri-food sector. Megan never imagined to be where she is now, mainly because she was unaware of all the opportunities and careers that exist. Her initial focus was to get into Medical School which shifted as she found her passions, knowledge and skills that have intersected and now provide value within the agri-food and health science fields.
“Not only have I learned about the roles that relate to my degree, but through training and new experiences, I now look at agriculture completely differently.”Learn more
Conor obtained an undergraduate degree in Communications from Wilfrid Laurier University, in addition to a postgraduate certificate in Public Relations & Digital Marketing from Conestoga College. This has led him to his current internship with AgCareers.com and CareersinFood.com, in digital marketing and communications.
With no prior experience in anything related to agriculture, Conor did not expect to find himself here. He simply applied for this co-op in hopes of gaining some experience related to his degree, but now realizes he has learned more than he ever imagined he would. Before he began this co-op, Conor only associated agriculture with farming, he never considered the business, science and technology elements that contribute to innovative farms. He was not aware of the diversity of careers in this industry but is confident that he would now consider a career in agriculture.
“Sometimes it's okay to say ‘I'm not a farmer, but I have passion for working in the sector’!”Learn more
Meena works for the Regional Municipality of York as an Agriculture and Agri-Food Business Specialist. At 19, Meena moved from Kenya to Toronto to pursue her degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of Toronto. Meena believes that her career journey began with a dream and a passion. She was set on combining the world of business with environmental sustainability. Growing up in Kenya, sustainable agriculture was Meena’s family’s way of life, which still propels Meena to give back to her community.
During these times in COVID, Meena is in awe of the entire agri-food sector’s commitment to food security and she is happy to express her pride in working in this industry. There is a big opportunity to connect the world of food and agriculture with environmental protection of natural resources, and technological innovation for a more sustainable future.
If you have an interesting path into the agri-food industry, or you would like to share helpful insights about working in agri-food, please reach out to us in the Contact section.