I am a veterinarian, epidemiologist (yeah.. I know – what’s that? Don’t worry, we’ll get there…), beef farmer, and a operate a veggie greenhouse. My better-half is a grain farmer by day and inventor by night.
On our farm we produce beef, barley, wheat, durum, canola, flax, peas, lentils, chickpeas, camelina, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce. I work with producers that raise pigs, cattle, chickens, and turkeys. Chances are, at least a couple of the things on your supper table are products we grow.
But do you feel connected to your food? Do you wonder if your food is safe? Or worry about how it was grown?
Since only 2% of Canadians live on farms it’s no wonder most say they know little to nothing about farming. The good news is that two-thirds say they want to know more. But where will they go with their questions? It’s a lot easier to ask Google than a farmer.
I don’t have a poll to prove it but I suspect many farmers feel just as disconnected from you. Lots honestly can’t understand why you are so worried about your food – worried about how we are taking care of our animals – worried about what we are spraying on our crops. They understand and trust the technologies they are using. But the farmers I know spend all their time talking to other farmers (and they ONLY talk about farming… trust me on that one). So to them, food safety – or better put, food fear – just isn’t an issue.
I get that “trust us” just isn’t a good enough answer. It’s like when your parents said, “Because I said so” to avoid answering hard questions. There’s a lot I don’t know. But when you stump me I’ll work to find a farmer who can answer. And I won’t shy away from tough questions… you know… the topics with no polite answer. (Case in point, I found myself explaining why bull testicle size is important to the guests at our Christmas dinner).
I also want to share some of the amazing stories from our own farm and the great things that neighbors, family, and colleagues are doing. So, post a comment and let me know what you want to hear.