Bridging the Rural Urban Divide

Riley Ohler

It is clear that there are many challenges in the coming years when it comes to Agriculture and rural life, but none is as important as what our neighbours in the city know that Canadian Agriculture is sustainable, technologically advanced, an economic force, who are ready to adapt to new challenges.

The time to build bridges is yesterday. We have watched closely as the language shifted around industries not willing to make changes to adapt to the environmentally sustainable, socially good movement. We know there are already rumblings in environmental circles about the sustainability of beef or the use of farmland for feed. We also know that we are the best in the world in this industry, that the future of sustaining our population growth lies in how we are able to increase our production while remaining the best stewards of the land.


Riley Ohler is a design-based education specialist with an incredibly diverse background. Completing his Masters of Education in 2020, Riley focuses his time on helping others, building strong organizations through human-centred design practices and building resilient communities.

Following the death of his son Colin in 2018, Riley has worked to improve the mental health of the community of grieving parents in Calgary. As a Co-founder of the group Dad’s In Grief, he has helped provide Calgary with a much-needed outlet for Dad’s experiencing the loss of a child between 0-18.  Riley has also spearheaded an informational film for recently bereaved parents, giving parents a place to turn to in those early stages of loss. This project is expected to be released early this year through the Alberta Children’s Hospital Grief support program.

Growing up in Agriculture Riley has always had one foot in the city and one at home on the farm in Stavely, AB. Riley is passionate about ensuring that the bridge between rural and urban is well maintained. Digging deep into the Urban-Rural connection is what Riley has always done: connecting Calgary youth to rural ways of life, ensuring rural voices are at the table of decisions being made in urban centers, writing children’s books about farm life, and connecting urban and rural organizations for social and financial purposes.

No matter what the discussion is Riley’s main message is always focused on his three main values: Love-Connection-Community.