Yesterday, an Edmonton area potato grower gave away $20,000 worth of potatoes to local to anyone willing to come pick them up. The Great Potato Give Away was designed to attract attention to local food and farmland protection. The area around the farm is under pressure from urban development and few Edmonton residents have a connection to the farm land. The publicity event was a great success with 1000’s of people showing up on the farm to pick potatoes. At one point the line of cars waiting to get onto the property was 8 kilometers long. The organizers had made 4000 bags for people to fill and were planning on digging potatoes until 4pm, but by 1pm all of the potatoes were dug and the remaining people in line had to be turned away.
This event made a large impact on a large number of local residents but it’s impact was far greater then simply on those that showed up and dug through the ground with their hands to pick up potatoes, even those that were turned away learned a great deal about the limited nature of farm land and the overall impact of agriculture on the community. The news of the event spread over all the local news agencies, and with a quick google search it is clear that common sites like Flicker, Twitter and Kijiji were all involved in either the advertising of the event or the spreading of its impact and message after the fact. It even made CBC news top 10 stories this morning making national news, which is how I came about finding it.
This event was an amazing way of attracting attention and building community and connection with local residents. It’s high energy and passion made it a news worthy story and one that spread on its own do to its positive nature. In my opinion this one event changed more peoples opinion on food and farmland then any other $20,000 advertising campaign could have possibly provided.