Canada’s birthday gift from Ontario agriculture: Recognizing longstanding farm families
By Kaitlynn Anderson
Canada might be celebrating it’s 150th birthday, but the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance (GHFFA) and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) want to celebrate local farmers as well.
Through the Canada 150 Farm Family project, the Alliance will recognize families that have been consecutively farming in the Golden Horseshoe for at least the past 150 years, according to a news release.
To date, more than 160 families in the area have come forward, according to Jeanine Moyer, public relations coordinator for AdFarm.
And the majority have remained on the same land for the past 150 years, said Janet Horner, executive director of the GHFFA.
While many of the families have not moved from the original homestead, some have relocated within the area.
“About 30 per cent (of the families involved) have been pushed out (at some point) due to development,” Horner told Farms.com.
Most participants are now cash crop producers but previous generations transitioned between different farm types, such as cattle and swine operations, to survive, said Horner.
Perhaps these farms may even change their area of specialization moving forward. Regardless, farming and the agri-food industry will always be relevant, Horner believes.
“There are very few industries that can say they have been in business for 150 years or more,” she said.
“This (project) is about commitment, dedication, innovation and ingenuity. Each generation strives to improve for the next (one).”
Excitingly, the project has become much more than organizers expected. Rather than simply learning about family businesses, the GHFFA is learning about family pride, too.
“People share triumphs and struggles of each generation, the marriage licenses and death notices of their ancestors,” said Horner.
“They share photos and articles. This is the story of immigration, tough times and developing a nation. This is Canada's story (being) told by the descendants of those that cleared the land and made the first homesteads.”
Has your family been farming in the Golden Horseshoe for 150 years or more? Consider filling out an application here.
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