When taking a closer look at the demographics of the Canadian workforce and dividing it up among trades, farmers represent the oldest demographic in the country at a median age of 52 years. Within agriculturally dense provinces such as Saskatchewan, in 2007, the average farmer was 56 years of age and only 12.3% of all farmers there were under the age of 35.
As skills and knowledge are replaced by fossil fuel dependent systems and technologies, this aging demographic represents a significant threat to the future of Canada's food supply.
Where are Canada's future farmers, and how does anyone interested in farming get involved?
In March 2008, Host Jon Steinman travelled to Sidney, B.C. to attend the annual conference of the Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia (COABC). On this broadcast, we listen in on one workshop titled, "Starting Your Organic Farm".
Write to a Farmer Who Inspires You
As the age demographic among farmers continues to change, so too is the population distribution between Canada's urban and rural communities. As the population increasingly becomes concentrated within cities, Canada's urban populations have become far more removed from the source of their food than ever before. One symptom of this change in population distribution has been a seeming loss of appreciation for the all-important grower and producer of food - the farmer. This didn't sit well with Nelson, British Columbia resident Paul Edney who launched an event in collaboration with Nelson's Kootenay Country Store Co-operative. The event was titled "Write to a Farmer who Inspires You".
Robin Tunnicliffe, Farmer/Co-owner, Feisty Field Organic Farm / Saanich Organics (Victoria, BC) - Saanich Organics is a community of farmers from small, certified organic farms who work together: Three Oaks Farm, Northbrook Farm, and Robin's Feisty Field Organic Farm. Feisty Field grows a variety of fruits and vegetables near Prospect Lake within the city limits of Victoria. Robin is currently completing a Masters degree at the University of Victoria on the value of local agriculture.
Paul Edney, Author/Director, We Are What We Do (Nelson, BC) - Paul is the Canadian director of the International We Are What We Do movement. He authored the Canadian version of Change the World for Ten Bucks, which outlines fifty simple, everyday actions that everyone can do to make a difference, such as: take public transport, decline plastic bags where possible, plant a tree, and write to someone who inspires you. Change the World for Ten Bucks aims to create a global community of people who are what they do. It started in the UK, and has launched in Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Canada. Worldwide, over 400,000 copies are in print!