COM0015 Blog Post #2 – Lead, Follow and Grow

Prince Edward Island is known for many things besides Anne of Green Gables. The products that form part of the primary industries of agriculture and fisheries are well known around the world. From Malpeque oysters to potatoes, PEI produces a lot of what the world eats.

Like many places, Islanders like to support local producers – some by buying local at markets or direct from the growers, which can sometimes be done by actually going out into the fields yourself. My mom introduced me to U-Picks growing up and I now visit regularly on my own for things such as strawberries and apples. A number of Christmas tree farms also do this, allowing customers to visit their farm before the snow comes to tag a tree and to return closer to Christmas to have it freshly cut.

My local fruit U-Pick haunts both use Facebook but I don’t think ‘strategy’ quite describes their use. Occasional messages of ‘we are open’ and ‘we are closed’ are about the extent of the postings. While helpful, they could use a little work. On the other hand. my new Christmas tree farm of choice showcases photos of people out to get their tree, pictures of their farm and invites customers to share pictures of their trees after their are up and decorated in their homes.

A more defined strategy for the U-Picks could help encourage people to:

  • come out and try picking their own products
  • buy pre-picked products
  • learn recipes new recipes/uses
  • take part in experiential tourism
  • take tours of the fields and production
  • support local

and could reach out to groups such as:

  • day camps
  • seniors centres
  • newcomers associations
  • tourism providers
  • those interested in supporting local

By using platforms like Facebook, Instragram and Periscope, the U-picks could engage with current customers to provide up to date information on their operations, engage people new to the concept by showing them how things are done, what things look like and drive traffic to their websites.

The leaders and followers that I outlined both deal with products with short windows for selection. Being able to engage current and potential customers would help to ensure they maximize the returns on their seasons.

What about you – do you support local?

COM0014 – Blog #2 Tell me a story

Everyone is a storyteller; I bet you told at least one today already. Some of us tell our stories face to face, while others put them in print and still others share them digitally.

A good storyteller gets the same reaction from their audience no matter the medium. But sometimes a story benefits from gestures and actions to enhance the narrative. These people also eliminate distractions created by going off on tangents, using improper grammar and making incorrect references.

My favourite storytellers chose their words in such a way that help me to form pictures in my mind. I really enjoyed reading Kathryn Stockett’s book The Help and was anxious to see the movie adaptation. What I imagined through her written words was surprisingly similar to what was depicted on the screen.

In my recent blog post What I did on my summer staycationI mentioned seeing a performance of The Four Tellers, where storytelling takes center stage. This popular form of entertainment recounts generally humorous stories of locals and events. In order to preserve the integrity of the stories, the ‘tellers’ use raw details which typically flies in the face of proper grammar and references, and which only adds to the humor.

Do you have a favorite storyteller or do you tell stories yourself? In this short YouTube video, one of my favorite storytellers (and lawyer by day) Gary Evans recounts a story of some well known Prince Edward Island locals. Please take a watch, I hope you enjoy.

If you build it they will come

A couple of weekends ago, a friend and I took a drive to the eastern part of Prince Edwsignard Island to take in an open house at the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society‘s (GEBIS) newest campus.

In 2009, a former Montague lobster supper and motel property was up for sale. Previously the home of traditional east coast hospitality, the real estate was purchased and renovated to become the province’s first Buddhist retreat. Construction on a new campus in Little Sands, not far from the original location, began in 2011. This new campus is home to between 80 and 100 monks and nuns, and regularly hosts people from around the world at its meditation programs.

The open house provided insight into daily monastic life and included a tour of the dormitories, displays of traditional works including art and sculptures (made of butter), a guided tour of the prayer hall by the resident monks and nuns, followed by lunch in the dining hall.

small rose

Rosettes sculpted in butter.

The hosts went out of their way to make guests feel welcome and the tour made for a great day in an otherwise bleak winter. For a province with traditionally Christian practices, this event provided a great opportunity to learn more about people who have become part of our Island community.

Lighthouse made of cookies.

Lighthouse made of cookies.

To learn more about the GEBIS check it out online or Twitter @GEBIS_Canada.