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2020 Farm & Food Care Champion award presented to Dylan Sher

Guelph – Dylan Sher, Producer of the local food movie Before the Plate, has received the 2020 Farm & Food Care Ontario Champion Award. 
The award was presented by Farm & Food Care Ontario (FFCO) chair Bonnie den Haan in front of a virtual audience of 300 attendees to the sold out Harvest Gala-in-a-Box event on Saturday evening.
The Champion Award has been presented annually since 1999 in recognition of an individual or group’s significant commitment to public outreach, and support for Ontario’s farm community. The award is traditionally handed out at FFCO’s AGM in April which was postponed due to COVID-19.
Sher grew up in Richmond Hill with no agricultural background but worked on a dairy farm in high school and then applied to the University of Guelph to study Agriculture Business. It was through these experiences that he became aware of the disconnect that people who grow up in urban centres often have with those producing their food. 
Seeking to find a solution and help to bridge the gap, Sher set out to develop a documentary that follows the journey of a single meal, taking each ingredient on the plate and following it back to the farm it originated from. Joining the project was Chef John Horne of Canoe, a downtown Toronto restaurant who prepared the plate and took the food journey, visiting the Ontario farms where his ingredients came from. His partner in the project was Sagi Kahane-Rapport who directed the film.
The movie was launched to a sold out audience in 2019 and went on to be shown at numerous events, in elementary classrooms and at universities. Today, “Before the Plate” can be found on platforms such as Amazon, iTunes and Direct TV. In moving to these platforms, the movie has a broader audience across the country and beyond.
In presenting the award, denHaan said that “Dylan has shown a passion for telling our agricultural stories which is something that benefits our entire industry.” She added, “With his urban background, he’s uniquely placed to help bring the stories of agriculture to everyday Canadians.”
Accepting the award from his home in Toronto, Sher said, "When I first had the idea for Before the Plate, I never imagined it would one day turn into a documentary available on Amazon. Along the way, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some of the most amazing people in order to bring this project to life and give farmers the recognition they deserve amongst urban consumers.”
He added, “Reflecting on the success of this project is very special and I would not have been able to accomplish it without the help and support of the agricultural community. Thank you."
Since the movie’s release, Sher and Kahane-Rapport have continued on to create a media company providing film services to agricultural organizations looking to connect with consumers.
Sher was nominated by Danielle Farquarson with support references from Carson Burtwistle and Derek Van De Walle, who also appeared in the movie. The decision was made by an independent panel of judges who reviewed all of the 2020 nominations.
Source : Farm & Food Care

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