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Farmers spread joy this festive season

Farmers spread joy this festive season

The ag community in Ontario and across Canada is bringing the spirit of giving to this holiday season with donations to individuals in need and locally made gifts 

by Jackie Clark
Staff Writer

Ontario’s ag community has no shortage of holiday spirit. From heartfelt donations to local gifts, farmers in the province are bringing the joy this festive season.

Producers in Ontario are helping their communities this season. One example is the donation, facilitated by the Chicken Farmers of Ontario, of 700 kilograms of fresh chicken to the Brockville and Area Food Bank.

“Ontario’s chicken farmers are community members, volunteers, coaches, group leaders, and families who take pride in helping our neighbours and giving what we can, when we can,” said Tim Klompmaker, a board director of Chicken Farmers of Ontario, in a Dec. 6 statement.

The ag community’s generosity extends beyond in-kind donations to include financial support, too. For example, a portion of proceeds from milk and Oreo purchases at select retailers until Dec. 28 will be donated to the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, the Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) announced in a statement on Nov 18.

"Putting out milk and cookies on Christmas Eve is a time-honoured ritual that shows kids' belief in Santa. We want all families to be able to embrace the magic in this tradition wherever they may be celebrating," Sean Bredt, DFO’s chief marketing and business development officer, said in a statement. The donations will help enable a jollier holiday season for patients at SickKids.

"Every year, hundreds of children across Ontario spend the holidays in the hospital. Donations help fund activities and comfort items that make that time in the hospital feel just a bit more like home," Lori Davison, the vice-president of brand strategy and communications with the SickKids Foundation, said in the release.

DFO will also donate $1 to SickKids for each post on Instagram that tags @OntarioDairy and uses the hashtag #SmallHeartsBelieveBig.

The Egg Farmers of Canada is also using social media to get the broader community involved in the association’s holiday campaign using the hashtag #RecipesThatGive.

Celebrity chefs across the country have joined Egg Farmers of Canada and Food Banks Canada to develop simple, delicious recipes that are easy and fast to create, and can serve as homemade holiday gifts.

“Canadians can get involved by sharing their favourite time-saving, holiday recipes on social media using the #RecipesThatGive hashtag to inspire others and tell us how they are using their time to make a difference in their community by donating food, funds or time to a local food bank,” Egg Farmers of Canada said in a Dec. 9 statement.

Ontario producers provide unique opportunities for celebration and gift-giving.

"When you celebrate this holiday season, I encourage you to support hardworking Ontario farmers by choosing Ontario grown and made food for your family, friends and all your loved ones," Ernie Hardeman, the province’s minister of agriculture, food, and rural affairs, said in a Dec. 9 statement. Families can enjoy Ontario-produced honey, maple syrup, craft beer, VQA wines, ornamentals and shop and dine at markets and restaurants dedicated to local ag products, the statement suggests.

After a tough harvest season, farmers in Ontario and across the country are still finding creative ways to support the spirit of giving. To learn more about opportunities to give back to your community, check out the December Better Farming feature “Celebrating the ag community’s giving spirit.”

macphoto\iStock\Getty Images Plus photo

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