Canada's Agriculture Day builds momentum for agri-food sector

The buzz around the second year of Canada’s Agriculture Day, celebrated Tuesday, Feb. 13, shows this event is gaining momentum.

Across the country, recognition for agri-food was everywhere as participants realized the huge opportunity Canada’s Agriculture Day gave them to raise the sector’s profile. 

Everyday conversation

“Food is an everyday conversation among Canadians,” says budding filmmaker Dylan Sher, a University of Guelph agriculture student who was in Ottawa to promote his production agriculture documentary, Before The Plate.

“Farmers think their part of food production is not interesting. But it is, and people want to know about it.”

Sher’s film premieres in August in Toronto, and he hopes it will be accepted for showing at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. 

Also in Ottawa, federal agriculture and agri-food minister Lawrence MacAulay rolled out the much-anticipated Canadian Agricultural Partnership, designed to help the sector innovate, grow and prosper.

And in Guelph, the university and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs took the opportunity to announce a $713-million, 10-year research partnership.

Nation-wide celebration

Local producer-consumer events were everywhere.

Among them, the popular pro-agriculture movie Food Evolution was shown in Wetaskiwin, Alta., by a group called Rural Roots Wetaskiwin, to connect neighbours in farming and urban communities.

In Manitoba, agribusiness students at Assiniboine Community College teamed up with industry partners to serve a breakfast buffet showcasing ingredients from Manitoba farms.

Children and adults were invited to participate in interactive agriculture-related learning stations at the Antigonish Regional Library in Nova Scotia, to make butter, felt soap and cider.

And in Newfoundland and Labrador, 35,000 students received a sticker and temporary tattoo to celebrate Canada’s Agriculture Day.

Nurturing rural-urban connections

Agriculture More Than Ever ambassadors such as Amanda Brodhagen were using social media to launch a dialogue between farmers and consumers about the rural-urban connection.

“I understand that it can be hard for people to engage in food and farm conversations if they don’t know where to start,” Brodhagen says. “Canada's Agriculture Day can help spur these conversations, and serve as a reminder to pause and celebrate the incredible industry that we are a part of.”

Brodhagen says farmers have an important role to play in promoting the agri-food sector.

“We play a part by adding our voices to the conversation, whether that is in everyday life through random interactions, talking to a school, writing to the local newspaper or being engaged on social media,” she says. “It’s through a multi-faceted approach that we will amplify each other's voices and make sure that an authentic and accurate story is being told about modern farming today."

Bottom line

Across the country, acknowledgment for agriculture was everywhere during Canada's Agriculture Day on Feb. 13, giving farmers the opportunity to help raise the sector's profile with the general public.

Article by: Owen Roberts