Senior Management at Stawnichy’s Mundare Sausage and Writer / Documentary Photographer
Kyler Zeleny sees his life as two creative prongs: Managing his family’s business, Stawnichy’s Mundare Sausage, and working as a documentary photographer and writer.
“I believe that I’m adding to a culture. What I do is produce food for people that live on the prairies in Alberta and try to produce work for them as well and try to understand some of their spaces because there’s not a lot of people that are even operating in Western Canada, who are writing and photographing in this region.”
Growing up on a farm outside of Mundare, Zeleny learned the agriculture business from his dad’s side of the family (his father, grandfather and great-grandfather farmed), and the food business from his mother’s side. Zeleny remembers one day when four generations of the family were working together at Stawnichy’s Mundare Sausage.
“It’s very much a small-town mentality where the community ends up raising you and also the business itself raises you,” says Zeleny. “There’s this idea of being an expert without knowing you’re an expert in things.”
Curious about the world around him, Zeleny pursued documentary photography while modernizing Stawnichy’s through branding, products and fundraising. Most recently, he’s raised $30,000 for Ukrainian humanitarian causes.
“I’m not making anything from scratch. I’m just trying to sustain and continue this idea of heritage when it comes to food or continuing the idea of telling stories about places that are maybe disappearing or are forgotten about, but are right around the corner.”
Why He’s Top 40
He preserves Alberta’s heritage through food and photography