As I’m sure you probably already heard, the University of Guelph has voted to cut its Organic Agriculture Major. This is the only Organic Agriculture Major in all of Canada.
The U of G Senate has agreed to hear from undergrad students concerned about the loss of the Major at its 5:30 PM meeting today, April 7, 2009. I’m writing to encourage you to attend a Rally in support of the students who want to keep the Organic Agriculture Major today at 4:30 PM at the U of G cannon. I will be there with a group of high school students who are concerned about the future of our food.
The decision to cut this important program comes at a time when demand for local and sustainably grown food is on the rise. Young people (and not-so-young-people) from across Ontario are, once again, excited about the idea of farming. Children are begging parents for cooking lessons and are asking questions about where their food comes from.
Just yesterday, the McGuinty government pledged $24 million over the next three years to have provincial institutions buy and serve more locally grown foods. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2009/04/06/ontario-food.html?ref=rss The trouble is that organizations like Local Food Plus are already having trouble finding an adequate supply of local, sustainable food to meet the demand of the few institutional buyers that are already on board. The real push now needs to be on making sure that there are enough farmers ready to meet the growing demand for local food.
While much of Ontario’s farmland is used to grow commodity crops that neither feed the people of Ontario nor provide adequate income for farmers and their families, the University continues to pump out agriculture graduates who have no interest in growing food.
The University of Guelph Major in Organic Agriculture offers a glimmer of hope to future farmers and researchers who are not willing to accept the notion that agriculture is dead. There are exciting opportunities in agriculture today. There are organic farmers who are making a living providing Ontario with nourishing food; we owe it to ourselves, our children and our communities to support their work.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope to see you this afternoon!
Guelph Mercury Article
Women’s studies and organic agriculture among those eliminated
March 31, 2009 The University of Guelph’s women’s studies program and the organic agriculture major, two programs that aroused the most outcry from the student body, have been eliminated.The senate board of undergraduate studies made the decision yesterday. For remainder of article, please visit http://news.guelphmercury.com/article/460102.