Carmen Wakeling received the BC Agriculture Council’s Award for Excellence in Agriculture
By Diego Flammini
A farmer from Courtney, B.C., recently received a prestigious industry honour.
Carmen Wakeling, co-owner and CEO of Eatmore Sprouts & Greens won the BC Agriculture Council’s Award for Excellence in Agriculture. She co-owns the business with her husband, Glenn.
The organization presents the award to “a farmer that successfully advances leadership in agriculture and/or the future of agriculture in BC…,” the council’s website says.
Winning the award came as a complete surprise, Wakeling said.
“I didn’t even know I was nominated,” she told Farms.com. “And because of the pandemic I had to do a video, so I had to ask (the ag council) for the nomination form so I knew what was going on.”
Wakeling is a past president of the Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia, who nominated her for the award.
She sits on multiple boards in leadership positions including as president of the International Sprout Growers Association and the vice president of the Small Scale Food Processors Association.
Being a leader means showing qualities one expects to see from the people they lead, she said.
“If you’re not prepared to do something yourself then don’t expect others to do it either,” she said.
Other qualities of good leader include the ability to engage people but also have difficult conversations when necessary, Wakeling said.
Being a good leader also means being able to mentor the next generations of industry leaders.
That takes a certain set of skills as well, Wakeling said.
“It’s so important that we listen more than we talk and that we do everything we can to encourage the next generation to step up, build confidence and take ownership of what they’re doing,” she said.
When asked about leadership resources to share with young people interested in taking on leadership roles, Wakeling pointed to life experience.
Learning through failure can be hard yet rewarding, she said.
“I’m 53 and I found that finding the little glimmer of light in a difficult situation really helped,” she said. “But if you can find what you need to know at that moment in time, you’ve got that knowledge that you can use and pass onto other people.”
Carmen Wakeling's award reception starts at the 1:13:00 mark of the video.