Campaign for New Farmers
Our food system faces many crises, among which is the steady increase in the average age of the North American farmer. As farms have gotten bigger and bigger and as the business of farming proves less and less attractive, young farmers have become quite an anomoly. Canada’s National Farmers Union (NFU) has maintained a strong youth focus throughout its history and at their 2009 annual convention held in Ottawa this past November, the Union’s Campaign for New Farmers was launched.
Farmers and the Global Food Crisis w/Paul Nicholson
The future of new and young farmers and the declining population growing food in Canada was a featured theme at the 2009 convention of Canada’s National Farmers Union, and it was only one year earlier that a keynote speaker at the NFU’s annual convention said; “As the percent of people growing food decreases, the political power of farmers decreases”. Those words were spoken by Paul Nicholson – a member of EHNE (the Basque Farmers Union) and a member of the International Coordinating Committee of La Via Campesina – the international peasant movement of family farmers, indigenous and landless people. Paul’s 2008 talk was titled Farmers and the Global Food Crisis and his comments on the diminishing political power of farmers as the number of farmers decreases is a signal to all of us, that the people growing our food and feeding the planet are increasingly losing their voice. Paul Nicholson believes that new alliances need to be formed between farmers and non-farmers alike in order for growth of export-oriented industrial models of food production to be curtailed.
Kalissa Regier, youth president National Farmers Union (NFU) (Laird, SK) –
Kalissa farms organic mixed grains and oilseeds north of Saskatoon in Laird, Saskatchewan. She also farms hemp seed and flax, legumes, pulse crops — lentils and peas.
Hilary Moore, farmer Teamwork CSA (Almonte, ON) –
After graduating from Environmental Studies at Ottawa’s Carleton University, Kalissa gained valuable experience on farms in New York and Massachusetts to later return six years ago to Ontario and launch the Teamwork Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA) program at Dunbrae Farms in Almonte, Ontario.
Paul Nicholson, Euskal Herriko Nekazarien Elkartasuna (EHNE) (Spain) –
Paul is a member of EHNE (Euskal Herriko Nekazarien Elkartasuna), the Basque Farmers Union in the Basque Country of Spain and a member of the International Coordinating Committee of La Via Campesina. EHNE is part of the Spanish COAG (Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos), which is part of the European Coordination-Via Campesina, a Via Campesina organization in Europe. La Via Campesina is an organization of organizations, part of a global movement of peasants, family farmers, indigenous and landless people.
Download audio for this episode here.