Proud of a simple idea 5 years later turning into SAIFood success
When I began my Research Chair in Agri-Food Innovation back in October 2014, one objective was to establish a blog that would facilitate the communication of scientific information about agriculture and food production. After some deliberating about titles and names, we settled on Sustainable, Agricultural Innovations and Food (SAIFood). The first blog was published on SAIFood, Feb. 10, 2015. At first, producing blogs was very demanding, each taking numerous days to write and 8-10 revisions prior to publication. Thankfully, the blog writing process improved over time, the new writing skills I developed were refined, dropping the necessary time to publish significantly. Over the past 5 years and 250 blogs later, we have the process down to a science, well for the most part.
Communication that matters
I had no expectations when I launched SAIFood other than the need for academics to broadly communicate the importance & results of academic research. As a result, what has been accomplished, I believe, is quite amazing. Through 5 years of blog postings, in excess of 60,000 users have accessed SAIFood blogs and viewed more than 110,000 pages of content. Over half of SAIFood users are international, and one-third of our users find SAIFood through social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. We are proud to say that we have a global and social appeal of factual information. Along the way, our efforts have been recognized and acknowledged by Feedspot, awarding SAIFood a global #2 ranking for Sustainable Agriculture Blogs & Websites.
While we intend to communicate what really matters, one aspect that I am proud of and matters to me is the ability to publish student blogs. These student blogs give them the ability to voice views and concerns on many aspects of agriculture. So far, over 40 student blogs have been published with more to come of the next few months.
Popular message lasting the time
The most popular blog to date was one of the first ones published. From a critical blog of the fast-food franchise, A&W, in March 2015 on the company’s abandonment of Canadian ranchers and farmers, in support of ‘hormone free’ cattle producers, the blog has been viewed over 20,000 times. Since our posting on A&W’s reliance too source ‘hormone free’ beef, our blog has continued to catch the eyes of readers, as the corporation has had to turn to beef producers from Australia and the United States to meet their production needs.
Making a mark
Despite having little expectations, I want to make sure this blog is making a mark and contributing to readers’ understanding. One way to track this is to assess website ranking services. Alexa is a website ranking service provided by Amazon that we have engaged for the past several years to track SAIFood. Numerous studies on consumer trust and public perceptions of food and food related topics indicate that the public has a high level of trust in academic scientists when it comes to information about food. As our readership has grown, we hope that we are also obtaining this high level of trust, which may help explain the significant and rapid rise we have seen in our Alexa ranking. In the fall of 2016, our first use of Alexa to determine SAIFood’s ranking found it listed as the 21,559,926 website globally. Being a relatively new blog site with paid no advertisement, and updating content once a week, we were happy to be within the top 22 million of more than a billion websites. On Jan 23, 2017, SAIFood was jumped in its ranks to 1,708,933 globally and 47,577 across Canada. Currently, SAIFood five years after its first blog is ranked 296,263 global in current internet engagement and 11,281 in ranking in Canada. To be ranked as one of the top 300,000 websites by Amazon’s Alexa in the world is a significant accomplishment.
Thank for your support over the past 5 years
SAIFood would not be the success it is without a great research team that has contributed hours of research time and writing to develop many blogs. A big thank you to those that work with me, you do excellent work.
More importantly, thank you to our readers! Without your support, intrigue and curiosity, we would not have continued to stand on our apple box of the internet and share our insights and the agricultural, sustainable, innovative and food related research by others like us.
Some of our favourite & popular blogs
Over the course of the past 5 years, some blogs have been widely popular, and others have not found their audience but they are still our favourites. Check out at:
- Our first blog on SAIFood, “Human Health Benefits of Genetically Modified Flax Oil” by SAIFood, February 10, 2015, discussed how an experimental variety of GM flax has the ability to reduce breast tumours.
- “Sustainability of Conventional vs Organic Farming” by Jordan McInnis, Former University of Saskatchewan, February 28 2017, is one of the top student blogs.
- “Hybridization, breeding and hybrid cultivars” by Graham Scoles, professor emeritus at the U of S is an informative blog on plant breeding technologies, July 21, 2015.
- A favourite blog that helped shape government policy in the state of South Australia is “The Cost of Australia’s GM Canola Moratorium” by Stuart Smyth & originally run September 10, 2018 as “Watch out Australia“.
- “Twenty-Five Years of GM Crop Benefits” by Stuart Smyth, highlights the significant list of benefits from GM crops, January 16, 2018.
- A blog based off of Dr. Shelley McGuire’s research on glyphosate on breastmilk “Toxic Ta-Ta’s“, by SAIFood, May 17, 2016, refutes accusations made by activist organizations in the USA.
- “Getting Big Isn’t A Bad Thing” by Savannah Gleim, May 29, 2018, discusses how and why farms have increased in size over time.
- Lastly, “A(mbiguous) & W(rong)“, by Stuart Smyth on March 24, 2015, continues to be our most popular blog each year.