Speaking up and farming on
Young farmers are being urged to speak out.
The Bashaw-based FarmOn Foundation has launched a campaign called Farm Voices. It wants young farmers to submit photos and messages that can then be streamed on the FarmOn Foundation’s website on April 22, which is Earth Day.
“What we wanted to achieve from the movement is a glimpse of the farmer’s life through their eyes, and allow others to better understand how agriculture impacts their daily lives with respect to things like food and environment and economies and that sort of thing,” said Jackie Northey, the foundation’s executive director.
Northey said contributors are being asked to focus on three themes: what they love about farming, challenges they face as farmers, and how they care for their land and livestock.
The photos and messages they provide can then be posted onto Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest with the hashtag #FarmVoices, and the FarmOn Foundation’s search engine will find and compile them.
She said that this is a simple way for young farmers to connect with the public, instead of being overshadowed by special interest groups like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
“Farmers are kind of quiet, hard-working individuals, and they don’t always tell their stories. And then what happens, unfortunately, is that other people do.”
One of the messages the FarmOn Foundation wants to get out is that farmers feed the world but face growing challenges and are declining in number.
More than 70 per cent of young farmers work 40 or more hours a week in off-farm jobs to support their agricultural operations, said the organization.
To promote the campaign, the FarmOn Foundation has posted a video on YouTube entitled #FarmVoices — It’s Our Turn.
Produced by students at Lakeland College, the three-minute and 43-second clip depicts young farmers in a variety of settings and describes how change occurs when people speak up.
Released on Feb. 22, the video has attracted 35,000 views and positive feedback from around the globe, said Northey.
“It seems like agriculture has the same challenges and issues all across the world.”
Arrangements are already being made to put some of the Farm Voices submissions into an exhibit that could then be used to generate money for a development fund for young farmers, said Northey.
The FarmOn Foundation’s website, including a link to the Farm Voices video and information about the campaign, can be found at www.FarmOn.com.