In honor of Canada Ag Day I decided to start my blog with a post about agriculture. Absolutely everyone is impacted on a daily basis by agriculture and the ag industry. Even beyond the food on your plate agriculture has an impact on your life. According to the 2011 Census there were 205,730 farms in Canada and 293,925 farm operators. On farms alone there is a huge number of people who depend on agriculture for employment. So we are all impacted by agriculture but many of us are not blessed with the land to grow our own food, so what can we do? How can you support the ag industry or be a farmer without any land? Well to start you can make educated decisions on the products you buy, supporting local, ethical, sustainable, it is all a choice you make with every item you purchase but you can also produce food in your own home. Of those 205,730 farms I mentioned earlier 12,991 were less than 10 acres. I know this is still far more than many people have but it just shows you don't have to be a huge operation to produce food or be part of the industry.
According to the United Nations approximately 66% of the global population will be living in cities by 2050. That is a huge number of people on a restricted area which is often miles away from the food they are eating. These people still require sustenance but have even less land to produce their own, but there are ways around this, ways to reconnect people with their food. Urban agriculture is a movement that has started to gain footing across the globe; whether you have a city lot, a barren roof top, or even just an apartment you can produce food in your own space. This isn't to take away from farmers who produce food on a larger scale, but it allows you to be responsible for your own food and take pride in it, something that farmers of all scales do every single day. Urban ag can take the form of a 1 acre market garden, which can create as much as 6 figures in revenue when managed properly, or it can be as simple as myself growing sprouts on my counter and a tomato on my windowsill. Urban ag to me isn't about taking away from the farm industry, it is about adding to it.
Urban Ag is a great way to teach kids about farming that may not have access to it otherwise. It is amazing how growing a garden or caring for a plant can help to inspire children and help them appreciate where the food they eat comes from. This teaches adults and children alike what it takes to have a sustainable operation, the inputs that go into production. Regardless of the size of the farm or garden we are all stewards of the land and want to leave it in the same or better condition than we found it. By doing this the next generations can learn from our experiences and hopefully continue to produce healthy and sustainable crops.
It doesn't matter how you are involved with agriculture you can always learn something new. Yesterday I learned there is a perennial "wheat" variety (Salish blue) being researched that may act as an alternative to some conventional annual varieties. Or do you know how much honey is consumed per capita in Canada? according to the Canadian Honey Council 2.2 pounds of honey. Did you know agriculture isn't limited to just grain or beef production, there are many different forms including dairy, apiculture, permiculture, horticulture, vertical farming, and the list goes on. If you aren't familiar with the ag industry there are many great resources within your local community as well as online. Provincial websites are a great resource for facts and how you can get involved with farming.
Canada Ag Day is about celebrating the industry and the things we love. Whether you are a farmer or rancher, a gardener, employed by agriculture, or you just love food, there is something to be thankful for. Today is about bringing a positive light to all forms of agriculture and is a good reason to get people talking. Agriculture is an amazing thing; a source of new and innovative technologies, a way people identify themselves, and a way we feed the planet.
Be a proud part of the Canadian ag industry #CndAgDay