Dylan Sher does not have an agriculture background, but what he does have is a desire to learn about the agriculture industry.
Sher is a fourth-year Agriculture Business student at University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and the producer of an upcoming documentary ‘Before the Plate.’ The film follows ten ingredients from the farms and ranches where they were produced to a Toronto restaurant where the food is served.
Listen to the interview.
“As a young person growing up, I had a really negative view of modern agriculture and modern farming,” Sher said. “When I started talking to farmers for the first time, it became very evident that the claims in the city weren’t exactly the way it was going out in the real world.”
Because he was interested in agriculture, Sher decided to pursue a college degree in Agriculture Business. He worked on a dairy farm during college, which eventually led to his idea for the documentary. He said during a break one day, he checked his phone and saw a misleading video about the dairy industry.
“They were showing some shots that I knew were completely out of context and things that just weren’t true. I just said, ‘I need to try and help communicate the farmers’ stories,’” said Sher.
Sher says he’s tried to keep the film “light and entertaining” to friendly invite, interest, and inform the audience. “Amazingly, we’ve received very little pushback from the public,” he said.
He says he’s received a lot of positive feedback from followers, producers, and agriculture businesses.
“When I say I’m bringing a camera crew, they have some concerns about how we’re going to portray their operations. But all-in-all, once people are familiar with the project, and know what our end objective is, then the response is very welcoming,” Sher said. “To the farming communities, thank you for the support.”
Not only does Sher cover the farmers’ and ranchers’ duties, he also visits processors and abattoirs to recount the entire process of farm to table, a part he says is often “mushed together” between farms and restaurants.
“Before the Plate” has an immediate focus on Canadian agriculture, but Sher says someday he hopes to have the opportunity to tell the story of American agriculture. The film is set to be released later this fall.