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Careers in the Food System


When you first thought about careers in agriculture, farmers probably came to mind, which is great! But it takes so many people and careers to grow the crops, raise the animals, protect the environment, transport products to factories, make the foods, ship the foods to stores, then get all the food to your plate. The process of getting the food from the farm to your plate is called the ‘Food System’ and there are lots of people and careers involved to make all of this happen.

An illustrated wheat plant is shown, as well as the roots below the soil.
Farmers use their knowledge to raise crops and livestock in order to get food ready for processing.
Farmers harvest the food, and send it to processing facilities to prepare and package it. At the end of this process, the food is ready for sale and distribution.
The food is marketed and then sold and distributed. At the end of this process, food is ready for purchase and preparation by end consumers.
People use their knowledge of food preparation techniques to use cooking appliances in order to prepare food. At the end of this process, the food is ready to eat.
Food Systems
Food systems include all of the moving parts that it takes to get food from the farm to your table. From labour, transportation, policies, and climate, many factors impact how food gets to the end consumer.
Food systems run at local, regional, national, and international levels.

Careers in Production

Primary products are the products or raw ingredients that we eat. Wheat, canola, milk, eggs, meat are all examples of primary products. People working in the production part of the food system have knowledge on how to raise crops and livestock, farm equipment, and business management. Careers in this area include farmers, veterinarians, agronomists, animal nutritionists, engineers, environmental technicians, drone operators, insurance adjusters, and many more!

An illustrated veterinarian kneels to give a cow a needle.

Veterinarians are important in diagnosing, treating, and researching any health issues that livestock animals may be having.

A farmer waters plants inside a greenhouse.

There are many different types of farming jobs on many different types of farms.

Careers in Processing

The processing part of the system takes the primary product, turns it into the food we eat, and packages it. For example, milk is turned into yogurt or cheese; wheat is turned into flour, then made into bread, cookies, and cakes; and pork is turned into sausage or ham. People working in this part of the food system understand harvest, butchering, food, storage, processing, and packaging. Careers in food processing include food scientists, butchers, agriculture and food inspectors, microbiologists, and many more!

An illustrated person stands in a processing facility next to a line of baked products.

There are many careers in food processing facilities where food is turned into the products we eat and are packaged. 

A man stands in a facility next to a line of eggs that are in packages.

Food inspectors are one of the many career options within food processing. 

Careers in Distribution

The distribution part of the food system moves the food. People working in this part of the system have knowledge in food sales, marketing, planning, transportation, and organization. Food is moved from the processing factories to the distribution centers and then to the stores. Careers in food distribution include truck drivers, commodity traders, sales representatives, marketing representatives, and many more!

An illustrated semi-truck has fruit and vegetables painted on the side of it and it reads ‘Fresh Food.’

Semi-truck drivers play a very important role in getting food to the grocery stores!

The inside of a large food distribution centre has many rows of food on shelves.

Many food distribution centres are very large and need many employees to run them.

Careers in Consumption

The consumption part of the food system includes food that is ready to prepare. People working in this part of the system understand food choices, nutrition, food preparation, and food safety. Careers in food consumption include chefs, event planners, dieticians, and food photographers.

A dietician sits at a table writing on charts. She is surround by vegetables and fruits on the table.

Dieticians play an important role in what Canadians decide to eat.

An illustrated woman fries eggs on a stove.

People working to prepare food understand nutrition, food preparation, and food safety.

General Careers

Careers such as accountants, educators, loan officers, engineers, truck drivers, website developers, and lawyers can be found in all parts of the food system.

There are so many different careers in agriculture. You can truly be from anywhere, with any education, with any interests and skills, and work in agriculture! Will you consider a career in agriculture someday?

Two illustrated food inspectors and two quality control employees are shown working at a food processing facility where food is moving on conveyor belts in the background.

Would you consider a career in agriculture?

Explore some of the exciting careers you could consider in agriculture!