By Kristy Nudds
Canada now has an official day to celebrate agriculture – February 16, 2017.
Canada’s Agriculture Day is a “time to celebrate and draw a closer connection between Canadians, our food and the people who produce it,” according to its creator, Agriculture More than Ever
The day marks the first time the industry has dedicated a day to celebrating agriculture and the people in the industry. It was announced on June 1, the final day of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) Public Trust Summit in Ottawa.
Candace Hill, manager of Agriculture More Than Ever, said in a release Canada’s Agriculture Day complements the industry-led initiative that has attracted more than 470 partner organizations and 2,100 individuals committed to creating positive perceptions of agriculture. Agriculture More Than Ever’s goal is to encourage those involved in agriculture to speak up and speak positively about the industry.
“It’s all about showing our love, pride and passion for an industry that puts food on our tables,” Hill says. “We want to give everyone the opportunity to have a voice in the conversation and celebrate the industry that feeds the world.”
“We all eat food yet many people don’t automatically make the connection between what’s on their plate and the commitment and care that goes into raising livestock, growing crops or processing food,” says Crystal Mackay, CEO of Farm & Food Care Canada, a national charity committed to building public trust and confidence in food and farming in Canada.
“Every link in the food production chain – from the farm to the grocery store and restaurant – plays a vital role in bringing food to your table every day,” says Mackay, whose group organized the summit. “Canada’s Agriculture Day is an opportunity to get involved, celebrate and be a part of the conversation about food and farming.”
Hill encourages the industry, organizations and individuals to come up with their own ideas and activities to promote and celebrate Canadian agriculture. Resources and ideas on how individuals and organizations can do that are available on the Canada’s Agriculture Day website, www.Agday.ca
It’s a much-needed initiative, particularly given the lack of understanding by consumers on how their food is produced. At the summit, CCFI released the results of a survey that showed 93 per cent of Canadians say they know little or nothing about farming.
That’s a staggering statistic, but there is some hope — the research also showed that two-thirds of Canadians want to know more about Canada’s food system and where there food comes from. “We see a big opportunity ahead of us,” Mackay said in a release. “The time is now to open up more dialogue and increase opportunities for credible conversations about our food in Canada.”
She says the new CCFI will serve as a “critical hub to help the Canadian food system better understand the public’s questions and concerns and determine how to bridge the gap that currently exists between farm gates and dinner plates.”
Farmers can also play a part. Although I’ve heard numerous farmers say they are not comfortable being a public relations spokesperson for their respective industries, opportunities do exist for “agvocacy” that allow a person to stay within his or her comfort zone. Check out the resources available at www.Agday.ca and visit www.foodintegrity.ca for more information on the CCFI and the key findings from the Canadian Public Trust research – it’s sure to inspire.