I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Ag lives in its own little bubble, and it likes it that way. Within the world of agriculture, I’ve seen great things on Twitter, Facebook, websites, in print and in person teaching each other about the wide world of agriculture. The only problem with that is, only other people in agriculture are seeing these things. Great twitter accounts like @FarmersOfCanada, publications like The Real Dirt On Farming, open farm visits and agritourism are making agriculture more accessible – but it seems that very few people in the city are experiencing these things. The agricultural community has created so many amazing resources to educate the public about what they do, and its not reaching a full audience.
Just through talking to my (non-farming) friends, most have admitted that they know very little about agriculture. They definitely had never heard of any of the great things mentioned above! The common perception of farmers, coming from people in the city, is that they’re dumb, they pollute the land, and they mistreat their animals. That factory farms make up most of the sector. That farmers are removed from their food and only care about turning a profit. These perceptions are tainting the image of a modern-day, Canadian farmer, and the agriculture bubble isn’t helping to get rid of them.
Breaking through to the public can be difficult, but its what needs to happen to make agriculture seem more… Human. We need to get into classrooms all across the country and make sure our younger generations see what being in agriculture is like today. We need to introduce our populace to working farms and let them see where their food comes from – especially those that don’t see beyond the supermarket. We need to pop the ag bubble and get people of all backgrounds reading blogs and tweets about agriculture. There is great material out in the world, and it’s up to those of us involved in ag to spread the word to everyone we can. Make ag accessible to everyone – not just those already involved.
Touch The Earth,
Emma — The Suburban Aggie