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July 18, 2013 Food Secure Canada Press Release
Halifax, Nova Scotia – As Canadians from coast to coast are feasting on the summer harvest of fresh local produce, many are unaware of an impending crisis facing Canadian agriculture: The average age of Canadian farmers is 54 and while many young people are choosing farming as a vocation, they must surmount many obstacles to make that choice. We need policies and programs that encourage people to make farming their career choice!
Food Secure Canada is pleased to see new entrants on the agenda of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture hosted Tripartite Roundtable between federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Agriculture and industry representatives meeting in Halifax immediately preceeding the FPT meetings. The Roundtable included Christie Young, Executive Director of the organization FarmStart, an Ontario based organization that is fostering the development of a new generation of ecological, entrepreneurial farmers. FarmStart provides Start Up Farm facilities, training and resources, seed capital and mentorship to help new entrants get their own farm businesses off the ground and to thrive. FarmStart is a member of Food Secure Canada, a national alliance of organizations and individuals working towards zero hunger, healthy and safe food and sustainable agriculture, which developed Resetting the Table: A People’s Food Policy for Canada.
“The new farmers we work with come from many different backgrounds – young people from cities, new Canadians from around the world, and second-career farmers who have decided to make the move to agriculture”, says Christie Young. “New entrants bring new ideas and skills, passion and connections to agriculture, which can mean innovation and renewal, but they also face huge obstacles and expenses and they need policy and program support. We need viable, diverse and resilient new farmers today in order to have resilient and diverse food systems in the future.”
“Support for new entrants in terms of early-stage, risk-taking financing, access to affordable and productive land, training, mentorship and extension services is urgent and obvious as shown by the recent forum on this issue. We hope that all Ministers of Agriculture see the opportunity we have to foster innovation, promote sustainable practices, incubate successful rural food businesses and revitalize our local economies,” said Diana Bronson, Executive Director of Food Secure Canada. “Ultimately, this will require a well thought-out national food policy along the lines of the blue-print that civil society organizations have already developed. Support for young and new farmers is something that all stakeholders, all levels of government and all political parties can agree upon now.”
For more information:
Christie Young, FarmStart, in Halifax: cell 519-835-0220 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Diana Bronson, Food Secure Canada, in Montreal: cell: 514 629 9236 or Diana@foodsecurecanada.org.