We stopped at the local coop grocery store for a few items and picked up this little magazine. The Real Dirt on Farming.
How many of “us” think about where our food comes from? How many of “us” buy into the misconceptions that businesses like A & W try to perpetuate? How many of “us” believe all the negative hype on GMO’s but will eat peaches and cream corn? “Us” is easy as that translates to urban dwellers, “they say” is harder to credit to whom.
Now first and foremost I am definitely no expert. While I grew up a farmer’s daughter on a dairy farm that was a long time ago. My brother is a rancher so I have some current knowledge in that area but not enough to be giving anything but my opinion here.
My opinion actually deals more with the misconceptions that abound and the apathy of the consumer. I recognize that the bottom line is definitely a limiting factor for many but still awareness and actions aren’t confined by that. It just seems that there is a disconnect between consumers and producers. Urban dwellers complain if it rains on their weekend while a farmer is crying for rain for their crop which equates with their livelihood. It feels like the farm connection is being lost and the statistics bear that out.
There are several movements abreast in western Canada being commenced at the grass roots farming level. Farmers are recognizing that the consumer needs a wider knowledge base to be able to make informed decisions. Ag more than ever comes to mind and the one below popped up on my feed today which seemed very timely as I had already started this blog post. It’s great to see this kind of action occurring to reconnect the parties so to speak. I follow a blog called NurseLovesFarmer and she does a lot of education work. Farmers are becoming very active on Twitter and a letter by a Sask producer to PM Justin Trudeau is garnering a lot of attention as it relates to the carbon tax. Instagram is full of photos and stories with various hashtags.
It’s no secret that the family farm has changed but in most cases it’s still a family farm. It’s as much a way of life as it was in 1911. Less farmers are feeding more people off of land that has skyrocketed in price. That’s the gist from the Stats Canada comparison data. 91% fewer farmers, 60% fewer farms but 548% more people to feed. I found some of these numbers staggering. Land prices have risen by 13,000% and no I didn’t type that number wrong.
This Canada West poster from 1915 shows an idyllic way of life. Truth is it wasn’t like that for either of my grandfathers nor is it like the for my brother or my friends. They work hard; long hours with the weather playing a huge role in their yearly outcome. This applies to basically every type of producer. Commodity prices are always fluctuating and transport costs and carbon taxes are items they have no control over. It’s a way of life that is also a family business and I suspect it’s a tough balancing act. I’ve only scratched the surface of the issue here but I encourage each of you to seek out info. The Real Dirt on Farming booklet addressed 9 key areas and suggested there are lots of resources for finding out more info. They touched on answering questions about:
- Plants & crops
- Farm animals
- Active environmentalists
- Pesticide use
- Biotechnology or GMO
- Hormone use
- Food safe
So get the Real Dirt on Farming. Go to an ag show and chat with producers. Shop at your local market. Tweet out your questions and concerns. Find out what we produce with pride here in Saskatchewan. Agriculture is a big deal in this province and we need to support our farmers.
Ok. I’ll get off the soap box now but think about this and use your phone to do some research.
And remember this is my blog and my opinion. Feel free to comment but keep it civil. I’ve seen some of the nasty stuff written on public forums and find it a)amazing that there are so many ill informed people out there and b)can’t believe people can be so rude which I think boils down to that fact that you can type anything and hit send. Way different than having the conversation face to face but that’s probably a different blog post. So comment away and tell me your connect to your food.