The Big Picture

Her hands to larger service for her club, her community and her country

To some, the 4-H pledge can seem a corny throwback to a bygone, agrarian era. But each year, it inspires thousands of Canadian farm kids to take on projects that provide insight into how we feed ourselves. It’s never been needed more.

When Alberta slaughterhouses became a hotbed of the coronavirus, it was a sober reminder to Canadians that steak doesn’t just land on our grocery store shelves. Ten-year-old Reese Stone from Westerose, Alta., was already well aware. She’d been tending to her steer, Turbo, through an agriculture project with 4-H Canada, a not-for-profit youth organization, since last fall. The fact that Turbo would be sold for beef was always part of the job, but it never took away from Stone’s ability to connect with him. Turbo was “funny, silly and sometimes a brat,” she says. Stone sold Turbo online for $3.60 a pound to employees of a local surveying company, who pooled their money to feed their families with 1,440 lb. worth of mince, steaks, roasts and main cuts, priced well below retail cost. Stone donated $250 to a local family in need of groceries. The rest? A fund for college, building her own herd and clippers for next year’s project.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.