Student Success

Oral histories to highlight farming stories of southern Alberta

Hearing stories about life on the farm in southern Alberta never gets old for Shelby Forster. The second-year history student is in the midst of an applied study with the Galt Museum to collect oral histories from people who are or have been involved in farm life, and she’s especially interested in anecdotes that relate to irrigation techniques.

Forster has already conducted eight interviews and has another seven lined up to complete the project. She asks interviewees about their earliest memories of being on the farm, what it was like to live and work on a farm, and what they see for the future of farming.

“Some people are really pessimistic and say the family farm is gone forever and others say the family farm is strong and is only going to get stronger,” says Forster.

Her project has already captured media attention; Forster was recently on Daybreak Alberta and Alberta@noon. After the Alberta@noon interview aired, Forster received so many calls from people wanting to participate that her interview roster was quickly filled. An archived podcast is available on the CBC website. Click on the Alberta@noon icon, scroll down to the podcast for Feb. 16 and once you have downloaded the podcast, move the timer to 10:30 to listen to her interview.

When completed, the oral history interviews will become part of the Galt’s archives.