Did you feel the love on February 23? Did you reflect on your commitment to care for the crops that become nutritious ingredients at consumers’ kitchen tables?
Canadians made a big deal about the work farmers do as they celebrated Agriculture Day on February 23. Canada’s Agriculture Day, which happens every year in February, is dedicated to celebrating Canadian agriculture and food. It is a great opportunity to let everyone know how we feel about this amazing industry.
“As farmers, we know that embracing innovation allows us to enhance the soil and minimize our footprint on the environment,” says Bernie McClean, chair of Canadian Canola Growers Association and a farmer from northwest Saskatchewan. “Our farms are home to wildlife, food for honeybees and soils rich with organic matter that provide a vessel for storing carbon, reducing Canada’s greenhouse gases.”
These are important messages to share. Research shows that Canadians are interested in knowing about sustainability practices on farms, and that environmental practices on Canadian farms is a decision-making factor when purchasing food.
The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) polls Canadians every year. Its 2020 public trust survey showed that while consumers maintain a high level of trust in farmers, consumers want more information about agriculture and they say that sustainability in food is increasingly non-negotiable.
A majority of those consumers surveyed say they actively seek out food items that use less packaging (55 per cent of respondents) or have a minimal environmental impact (47 per cent). Demand for environmentally-friendly food options will only continue to grow. Younger Canadians (aged 18 to 23) are more likely to seek out these items and as their purchasing power increases with age, so too will their demand for these options.
“As a farmer, it’s my responsibility to grow safe, quality food and we are constantly learning and adapting our farming practices,” says Jeannette Andrashewski, canola farmer from Two Hills, Alberta.
“I share about what happens on my farm to a consumer audience to nurture trust and understanding.”
Andrashewski and McClean are two farmers featured in the Agriculture Day video. To see the video and share it with your community, go to canolaeatwell.com.
The Canola Eat Well joint effort is part of the provincial canola organizations’ mandates to actively facilitate market development initiatives in Canada. Across the Prairies, market development programming is about maintenance and awareness, while a targeted market development program in Ontario is about increasing awareness and demand among consumers in that growth market.