Jean-Marie Laprise holds up some banana peppers in a garden he planted on the site of the International Plowing Match & Rural Expo featuring almost 70 crops which are grown commercially in Chatham-Kent. Laprise owns the 850 acres of Pain Court land where the event was held Sept. 18-22. (Tom Morrison/Postmedia Network) Tom Morrison / CA
Over the years, we have seen a movement from the farm to urban settings. In fact, over the past 100 years, the number of farmers has dropped from 3.2 million to 300,000 farmers. The number of farms has also dropped over that same time, from 511,000 to 206,000 farms.
This shift also means that more and more Canadians have lost touch with farming and food production. Many of us often don’t understand how our food is grown or how agriculture has changed. This leads to many questions on what farmers are doing and why they do it. This also leads to quite a bit of misinformation or wrong information.
So how do we find out the truth about what is happening on our Canadian farms? How do we find out about how crops are grown and how farm animals are raised? What goes into growing all these food crops and raising all these animals and how does all of this impact our lives?
Farm & Food Care Ontario is an organization that was created through the amalgamation of the Ontario Farm Animal Council and Agricultural Groups Concerned about Resources and the Environment. Both well-respected groups were formed in 1988 as non-profit, agricultural education coalitions representing Ontario’s livestock farmers, crop farmers, and associated organizations.
Farm & Food Care Ontario brings farmers, agricultural professionals, related businesses, government organizations and other groups together with a mandate to provide credible information on food and farming in Ontario.
If you go to their website (www.farmfoodcare.org) and look for the tab that says “Farm Food 360o” you can find out all about various farming operations we have in Ontario, including beef, dairy, turkey, vegetable, chicken, fruit, egg, veal, greenhouse vegetable, goat, pig, and grain, as well as ratite (ostrich, emus, rheas) and deer/elk farms. If you cannot get to the farm, this is a great way to find out what actually goes on. It really is the next best thing to being right there.
One of the areas I want to be of service to is connecting you to our farmers. If you have questions on anything to do with agriculture, whether is involves crops, chemical use, biotechnology, antibiotics, bees or whatever is on your mind, let me know. I will connect you with one or more of our Chatham-Kent farmers, who would be happy to meet with you, explain to you exactly what they do, and show you around their farm. I would rather you find out directly first hand from members of our agriculture sector.
Think about this – When you can’t sleep, don’t count sheep. Talk to the Shepherd.
Just some food for thought.
Remember that here in Chatham-Kent ‘We Grow for the World’. Check out our community’s agricultural website at: www.wegrowfortheworld.com
Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 45 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy’