Canada is recognized internationally for being ‘green’, and is being branded as such with ‘Quality is in our Nature.’ Known for being “environmentally savvy, competent, credible, and reliable, offering safe, high quality products from a natural, pristine environment” (source: Agri-Food Trade Service), other countries are looking to Canada for solutions. Are we living up to this?
Globally, we are realizing that “Business as usual is not an option.” But there is hope – the IAASTD (initiated by the World Bank and the FAO) states that “we believe that by combining local and traditional knowledge with formal knowledge these challenges can be met.”
How will we do this? What models and practices are out there that demonstrate that today’s farm can be viable? What kind of farming will ensure that the future supply of food nourishes our bodies? Our communities? Our rural economies? Our land? Our soils and our souls?
For over 15 years, Gayl Creutzberg has been collaborating on food and farming initiatives, including farmer training and regional local food branding. She is driven by a passion for access to local nutrient dense food, helping farmers market their products and ensuring the economic well-being of rural communities. Since 2006, after farming sheep on land that was certified organic, she researched models for accessing and distributing local food, and owned and operated a local food deli.
In launching an online farmers’ market in 2012, where farmers could market themselves online to a consumer base looking for nutrient dense food direct from the farmer, she discovered that as a society, we are not yet at the (tipping) point where enough consumers open their wallets to pay for local food, despite them saying (in market research surveys) that they support it. In Europe, with their centuries of traditional food practices, it is very different.
Awarded a Nuffield Agricultural Scholarship in 2013, Gayl travelled through Europe to study whether community agriculture (and the local food movement) was a viable option for the future of Canadian agriculture, which she calls Ag3.0 (details in this post). In her report, she concluded that a farmer’s mission statement for their enterprise should not be about feeding 9 billion but about nourishing communities. Since the publication of her study report, the Farming For A Future Network (FFFN) has formed which hosts events and discussions throughout the year on these issues (details in this post where there is a newsletter subscription link if you are interested).
“For Canadian agriculture to contribute to a healthy world, we need to go ‘back to basics’, with a revised farm enterprise mission statement of ‘Nourishing Communities’, instead of feeding the world.“ – Gayl Creutzberg
Please share your discoveries about the sacred in food and farming and feel free to contact me at gumbootgourmet(at)gmail(dot)com.