The Story of Oats, a 360° virtual reality video created over the summer and fall of 2017, was officially released Feb. 13, to celebrate Canada’s Agriculture Day.
The Story of Oats follows the lifecycle of oat seeds from the field to the kitchen table.
The big step for the Yorkton Exhibition Association, which was instrumental in getting the project off the ground, was determining what aspect of agriculture to address in the film, but with a local processor, the decision was soon made to promote oats.
“We wanted something local to Yorkton and area,” said JeanAnne Teliske, general manager of the YEA, last September, regarding the film project.
That choice opened the doors to a couple of additional funding partners, as both Grain Millers and the Prairie Oat Growers Association came on board, said Teliske.
Terry Tyson, general manager of Grain Millers in Yorkton, said they immediately saw value in the project.
“As more and more of society gets a little farther removed from the farm gate each year, Grain Millers supports efforts of groups such as Farm and Food Care SK and Agriculture in the Classroom that seek to preserve and strengthen that connection between agriculture and society,” he told Yorkton This Week.
“We feel that consumers need a better understanding of where their food comes from, and how it makes its way to them. So when the Yorkton Exhibition Association and SK Ag approached us about assisting with telling the Story of Oats, we couldn’t have been happier to help. We hear the term “social license” a lot in this context, as in farmers struggling to maintain their social license to farm. We believe that consumer mistrust and suspicion are rooted in unfamiliarity, and that only by focusing on transparency and education, and connecting the dots between real people, will we bridge that gap.”
The video was filmed near Foam Lake, Saskatchewan and produced by Farm Boy Productions out of Ontario.
The on-farm filming took place on the Chris Rundel farm. A member of the Prairie Oat Growers Association said the film is a way to connect with consumers.
“It’s another way as farmers … we can take the story of oats to an increasingly urbanized population,” he said, adding the film shows one aspect of “where food come from.”
Rundel said the film crew spent a day on the farm taking video via drone cameras, and others mounted on equipment such as the combine. The resulting film is one he thinks does a good job in telling the story of oats.
“I think it did a good job of showing a little bit of what it means to be an oat grower,” he said, adding that while it shows the on-farm equipment required, it goes the next step as well, “following things to the processor.”
According to Teliske, “educating the public as to where their food comes from is important and I think we were able to do this in an engaging and fun way.”
The unique 360° video was utilized as a way to immerse people in the viewing experience, allowing them to look up, down and all around as if they are experiencing the situation in real life.
The videos are best viewed using a Virtual Reality (VR) headset but can also be viewed on computers or smart phones.
The Story of Oats puts you in the seat of a combine, inside a grain bin, and gives you VIP access to the oat processing plant.
The funding partnership will purchase 20 headsets. Teliske said the headsets will be used for trade show promotions, and for students through Agriculture in the Classroom. She added they held discussions with the school group to make sure the finished film hit upon the right things to fit curriculum.
Naomie Paley with Saskatchewan Agriculture, who was instrumental in the initial project idea, said it is the educational opportunity of the film, for both students and consumers which makes the project so appealing to those involved.
“It will be pretty cool … to take it into the classroom and let them experience it,” she said.
Three additional traditional videos were also produced which take you through the details of how oats are grown, harvested, and processed. The videos cover numerous aspects of school curriculum identified by Agriculture in the Classroom and will be made available to local schools.
The project was made possible through Agriculture Awareness Initiative Program, which is part of the federal-provincial Growing Forward 2 Agriculture policy framework, along with funding from Grain Millers Canada and SaskOats.
A partnership was also created with Farm & Food Care Ontario to include The Story of Oats in their suite of online virtual farm tours at FarmFood360.ca.
To view the 360° video, visit the following link: http://www.farmfood360.ca/#oat-processing-tile