Barbecue season goes digital with help from Alberta producers

Not even a pandemic can take the flame off barbecue season. But with physical distancing restrictions still in place, Alberta’s favourite summer pastime is getting a digital makeover.

The Alberta Motor Association has joined forces with local producers to create a virtual community that unites people around the barbecue, even from a distance. AMA’s Backyard BBQ encourages Albertans to get grilling using locally grown and raised products, and to share their experiences with other members of the online group.

Part of a broader campaign to rally behind the Alberta economy, the virtual barbecue will feature content from local businesses whose products pair perfectly with a deck chair and the smell of freshly cut grass.

“Bringing back Alberta starts in our own backyard: supporting the growers, producers and other local businesses who help put food on our tables—not to mention our grills,” says Don Smitten, President and CEO of AMA. “This virtual community will help people explore, support and enjoy the best of Alberta’s food industry from the comfort of their own patio.”

Small businesses make up a large part of those impacted by recent events. Making up 95% of Alberta business, many have been hit hard by closures, disruptions in supply chains, processing-plant issues, and fallout from the oil crisis. But by supporting one another, we can make things a little easier for everyone.

“This isn’t about selling AMA memberships; this is about Albertans standing together as we all navigate these challenging times,” says Smitten. “To extend that commitment, our BBQ partners are paying it forward by supporting food banks across the province. We want people to feel good knowing that the organizations they’re helping, believe in helping others too.”

There are more than two dozen charter partners in AMA’s Backyard BBQ, including Alley Kat Brewery, Acme Meat, Thistle Hill Farms, Egg Farmers of Alberta, Alberta Milk, Riverbend Gardens, Messinger Meats, Alberta Beef Producers, Alberta Chicken Producers and more. The virtual gathering is a chance for people to learn from local chefs—including Michelin-star trained Doreen Prei—share their favourite summer recipes, connect with local growers and grill-masters, swap tips, show off grilling masterpieces, and enjoy exclusively curated playlists from Alberta musicians like Corb Lund.

Tom Kootstra, Alberta Milk

“Alberta’s dairy farmers are proud to be part of this new interpretation of a classic summer tradition. This community is an innovative way to celebrate Alberta pride and support each other during this time. I hope we can continue to be part of Albertans’ food conversations once we can all be together again.”

Brad Dubeau, Alberta Beef Producers

“One of the most anticipated summer events for any Albertan is a backyard barbecue with family and friends. As we continue down the path towards normalcy again, Alberta Beef Producers is excited to partner with AMA for the Backyard BBQ, which will virtually bring people together from across the province. We encourage everyone to stay safe and take part, enjoying your favourite cut of beef straight from the grill”.


AMA Newsroom: 1-888-960-NEWS (6397) | ama.newsroom@ama.ab.ca

About AMA

The Alberta Motor Association (AMA) is among the largest membership organizations in Alberta, representing more than 980,000 members. As a leading advocate for traffic safety, travel and consumer protection and crime prevention, AMA represents the interests of its members to industry and all levels of government and helps protect the things they care about most. Visit ama.ab.ca to learn more about AMA’s products, services and member advocacy efforts.