What? Young Agrarians is a Canadian grassroots initiative made up of farmers, food activists, community organizers, food lovers, balcony and community gardeners, artists, musicians, and more. Our mission is to inspire and connect the next generation of food growing people across Canada.
Why? You know it… and lots of Canadians are realizing it! We need a diverse, decentralized, ecologically sound, sovereign, stellar food system for many good, sensible reasons: the health and safety of Canadians; the resiliency and cohesion of our communities; to create sustainable jobs and strengthen local economies; to connect people back to the land and nature; to reduce our dependence on the fossil-fueled, globalized, industrial-food-complex, and, quite simply, because it tastes really good!
But our farming population is on average shrinking- getting older and struggling. In 1913, one in three Canadians lived on farms; that number is now less than one in fifty. To boot, in 2011 the average age of Canadian farmers had risen to 55 and half reported off-farm employment as the main source of income. In 2010 in British Columbia alone, over 50% of farmers are 59 and up with less than 5% 34 and under.
A local food movement is sweeping our vast geographies. Our farmers’ markets are bustling, local food is trendy, and growing food has a new unprecedented level of sex appeal as food stories take root in the mainstream. A clear shift in awareness is happening and we want to leverage it into action. We need thousands more hands to grow our local food economies and build resilience for a time beyond our fossil fuel dependency.
“How is it possible that there is such an uprising of people who are passionate and enthusiastic and inspired by the new food movement and yet so few whose hands are actually in the soil doing the work? The real shift we need cannot take place when only two percent of us are doing the work to grow the food for the rest… In the end there is not so much a food crisis as there is a crisis in participation.” Michael Ableman, farmer, author, photographer
We need young people to reoccupy and reinvigorate Canada’s food system!
- Grow the Young Agrarians network: connect, promote, harness, share, recruit
- Build an online tool shed: research, compile, map the movement, extend, educate
- Move the movement: organize, facilitate, build capacity, disseminate, advocate, affect policy, have a blast!
- Fertilize the network: Facebook, Twitter, FLIKR, sign-up for e-news youngagrarians.org. Please join in and spread the word!
- Contribute to the blog: plant your stories, cultivate your ideas, share your successes, challenges, and creative ingenuity.
- Dig deep and collaborate: grow the growers, move the movement-be an associate, form a hub, coordinate YA events in your town (party!), recruit an army of young agrarians, take back our farms, take back our food system, cultivate the love, GROW FOOD!