Greta Chiu - Agricultural Technical Writer

Greta Chiu

Agricultural Technical Writer, Kenna Communications

I was born/grew up in: Toronto, ON

I now live in: Mississauga, ON

I completed my training/education at: B.Sc. in Environment & Toxicology at the University of Toronto and an MSc. in Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph

Describe what you do at work.

I write and create content for a number of different marketing pieces. We call the pieces “tactics”. These are all targeted towards growers or others who work in the agricultural industry. The tactics include such items as emails, direct mail, print ads and websites. These are usually more promotional in nature. The goal is to promote and sell a specific product. Other tactics include such things as online learning modules, articles related to growing things, and how-to guides. These are more educational in nature and teach growers how to handle different challenges on their farms.

To create content for these tactics, I constantly draw on my educational background in plant science. I use my science background to read scientific papers and websites and do calculations to figure out the best application rates for pesticides. I then communicate information to growers in plain language. I work closely with an art director. This person designs the look for each tactic and arranges my content to make it as appealing as possible to a potential reader.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

How does your job affect people’s lives?

As fewer and fewer Canadians choose to grow food for a living, one solution is to increase the amount of food we grow per acre of land. My job let's growers know about best practices and different options for making their operations more efficient. This helps them to produce more food. The goal is that they grow enough to feed Canadians and to export to other countries around the world.

What motivates you in your career?

Whether it's how leaf diseases infect corn, how herbicides work or how to straight cut canola, this job lets me learn more about plant science and the latest technologies in agriculture. Having to write about it helps me learn the material in much greater detail. We also travel to grower conferences and use social media to make sure we're up-to-date on the latest challenges on the farm. We also keep up with the scientific research that can provide solutions to these challenges. Plus, it's great to know that my work is making a difference to Canadian farms and contributing to the food on our tables.

When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:

Describe your career path to this career.

I started with an undergraduate degree in Environment & Toxicology at U of T. This gave me a broad knowledge base in toxicology, biology and environmental chemistry. During this time, I joined a research lab in plant biology as a research assistant. Here I studied the effects of climate change on rice and wheat growth. Looking for a way to combine my interests in toxicology and food production, I completed an MSc. in Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph in apple storage disorders and plant stress biochemistry. During my tenure there, I saw the gap between scientific research and application - one that could be filled by communication. Interestingly, it was my background in plant biology and years of writing for the campus newspaper that ultimately led me to my current job.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

I work out regularly at the local gym, read before bed and cook for fun. I'm currently working towards a Culinary Arts Certificate at George Brown College in Toronto.

What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?

Take as many different types of courses as you can and try on different volunteer roles. You never know where your interests lie until you try.

CurioCity Careers

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