Who are the New Farmers? 4

Well, I’m sure you’ve heard that we need to encourage more new farmers in Canada. We don’t currently have enough people entering the age-old profession of farming to replace the ones retiring.

There are many ways that this issue can be addressed. By supporting your local farmers you are definitely helping! Ideally, support would also come from the government in the form of supportive policies.

Last year, around this time, I sat in a room with young farmers from across Canada and we decided a National New Farmer Coalition would be a good idea.

We were inspired by the work of the National Young Farmers Coalition in the U.S.A. They created policy recommendations to support young and new farmers (which you can see here). And many of their policy recommendations made it into the most recent U.S. Farm Bill! And this was all done in a grassroots, young farmer-organized manner. We have power when we come together! Let’s make something similar happen in Canada!

 Brussels Sprouts Power!

The Goal: 1000 new farmers in Canada saying what they need to be successful.

Why: There are rules and regulations that can support and encourage new farmers and those that can do the opposite. We need more of the former.

We need to tell our government, our lending agencies, our food and farm organizations “Hey! Stop guessing who we are and what we need! We are here to inform you.”

Why care about policy change? Policies affect whether a retiring farmer will be able to sell their farm affordably to a new farmer. Policies affect whether loans or grants are available to new farmers. Policies affect the success of your local farmers’ market. Policies affect whether new farmers succeed or fail!

What: A survey has been created for new farmers to find out who you are, what you’re doing, what has worked for you, and what you need.

The info received from this survey will help in the creation of policy recommendations. What kinds of policies do we want to shape? National policies, provincial policies, municipal policies and business/organization policies that can affect new farmers.

Who: Fill out this survey if you are a new farmer, an aspiring farmer, an established farmer, or a recently exited (you were farming but now you’re not) farmer. You are being asked to do this by other new/young farmers who want to unite our voices and be heard!

Where: Let’s bring together the voices of people from across Canada. From coast to coast. From North to South. From city lots to the ends of country dirt roads.

When: The chance to add your voice to the voices of new farmers from across Canada is here now! Please fill the survey out as soon as you can. The survey has been released now, in the winter, so that your time spent filling it out doesn’t compete with time spent weeding. The survey will likely take about 20 minutes of your time.

How: You click on this link. As soon as you click on this link, you will see the introduction to the survey and a consent form. Then you start filling out the survey.

Please share this with any new, aspiring, established, or recently exited farmer you know. Each one will have a unique perspective that will greatly enrich future policy recommendations and the future farming reality in Canada.

We’re trying to get at least 1000 farmers to fill it out. Help us make that happen! Share on Facebook, Share on Twitter, Share through email. Share, Share, Share!

The link to the survey is: www.ruminationsongerminations.com


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4 thoughts on “Who are the New Farmers?

  • J

    Hats off to you for bringing these issues up as something that is important. Sometimes government policy and law making is boring for people, but it is critical that they understand how much these rules can help or hurt all of us who are farming or becoming a new farmers. Good luck with everything!

  • Sabrina Vollrath

    I am reading and following you for quite a while and am a strong supporter of your approach.
    Through ACORN I tried to find people living and working from my farm but it did not work.
    So maybe talking to you will be more fruitful.
    I am owning and managing a beautiful farm nestled between marshland and a river right between Fredericton and Moncton. It has started as a horse farm but due to a separation it is just me and the animals for a while now and too much work anyway.
    I was trying for the last years to encourage people to come aboard as I am busy with the perma culture idea, self sufficiency etc.(off grid a big one),
    But as we all know it requires kindred spirits and I did not seem to have met enough of them.
    The camp is now inhabited by youth that is already starting and planning for gardening, composting, cob stove, etc., so there is a beginning.
    But the farm needs more people and the long term goal would be to making money from the farm and not traveling and making money from elsewhere.
    Any input from your side?

    • broadforkfarm Post author

      Hi Sabrina,
      Your plans sound like a wonderful thing to work towards. On our end, we are working on how we can make our business financially, emotionally, and physically sustainable with just two of us working on the farm. There are certainly instances where having more hands would get things going faster, but at this point we can’t afford to pay someone wages to work with us on the farm. Both of us have greatly benefited from working on other established farms, as interns or managers to learn the ins and outs of what it takes to run a successful farm business. Even with that on farm experience, there was still a big gap for us in the business end of setting up a farm. It sounds like you would like to have other people with you on the property: if you have land that is suitable for vegetable production you could have some kind of lease or land share agreement with someone who wants to grow but doesn’t have land access or the capital to purchase their own place. It is important to have clear guidelines and expectations on both sides of that agreement, having a formal, written up lease agreement. Another option could be to put your property into a land trust and start a co-operative farm. Two different examples of this are Tourne-Sol Cooperative Farm in Quebec, and Waldegrave Farm in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia.

      Hope this is a little helpful at least. Best of luck!


  • Pamela Jarrett

    Hi! Love your site! I have several hundred permaculture growers as Facebook friends in my Facebook site. It’s kind of an informal Permaculture networking site. I am writing because I have a friend, Yongo Otieno Wycliffe in Kitale, Kenya, who is burning with passion to learn permaculture techniques, good growing, and business, has a passport, already has some Friends in Central and South America, and one in Haiti. He is looking for paid training. He speaks English. Is 22. Please contact him at Yongo Otieno Wycliffe on FB. Thanks!! I am looking, too.