Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Consumer Gets What They Want.

The following post was contributed by Jacob Pelissero

Most people don’t mind farmers. They view them as a hard working, ethical person that is always willing to lend a hand.  These people like to come for a Sunday drive on the weekends and wave as they drive by. Yet these same people tend to have negative views on our farming practices. They tend to make accusations against farmers that are outrageous and based on very little facts. They also tell me that eating 6 eggs for breakfast is unhealthy, because of the cholesterol levels.

As I sit here writing this I have a pamphlet that was handed to me by a vegan outreach group on campus. Flipping through the booklet I cannot help but laugh at what it is trying to inform me of. The photos within are taken from farms in who knows what continent. Yes there are some photos that do depict inhumane conditions, but I highly doubt that the photos were captured in North America. This information book apparently educates one of all farming know how in 15 pages. So basically I don’t need to finish my Ag Bus degree. It shares about how unsanitary the barn conditions are, and that it is horrible for the animals. Yet, I am willing to bet that my barns, or any barn in Ontario is cleaner then South Residence after the first year students move out.

Farming is more then just an occupation. It’s a lifestyle that is passed on through generations.  Yet with active groups that are providing ill information to consumers, its easy for farmers to be painted as a ‘the bad guy.’  It is also difficult to fight back against these organizations because of their funding and size.  Its reality that even by pooling every agricultural board together we still don’t stand a chance against these groups. Collectively farmers need to put a face to what we provide consumers through various ways.

What the consumer wants is what the consumer will get. The consumer wants local food, farmers will provide local food. They want organic, we adapt our practice and provide organic. They want to know how their food is being treated, and we as farmers are lacking that information transfer. Almost every farmer has been called something just because of an opinion. Do these same people tell their mechanic that he overcharges after repairing their car? I enjoy having the conversation in the grocery store informing people about eggs, and how they differ, and how they are made. I like putting a face to eggs, so the consumer can forget the “factory farm” view and hopefully remember the story I tell of my family farm. Farmers cannot win in a fair fight against these opposition groups because, they like to fight dirty. Photos will always surface with no location attached, or the one bad apple in the bushel will be uncovered. I think as farmers we need to share our story when we are in the grocery store, or ordering a sub at Subway, and how you could be attached to the sandwich.  The consumer wants to know how their food is being produced, and as farmers we need to provide them with that information.

 

 

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Consumers Don’t Care

The following piece is contributed by Jennifer Ritchie

I believe many consumers truly do not care where their food comes from. On average the times that I have been in a grocery store I see less than a dozen people really looking over food product labels. I would image if I were to go into a popular grocery store such as Metro Inc. and start asking people about certain products there were looking to buy less than fifty percent of the customers would know where that food product came from. Products such as eggs, milk, and meat should be something people should take an interest in to know where exactly these products are coming from. The results of this I think would be different in the summer months than in the winter months as a lot of local fruits and vegetables will be on the shelves when in season. Overall I do not think consumers care enough about where their food comes from.

 

Time to Kill In Nicaragua, Why Not Blog

This morning our bus ride up north has been derailed by a mission to get coffee so I had a bit of time to share some thoughts…

Our trip here has been incredibly rewarding, albeit has been an emotional rollercoaster.  It is difficult to see so many people in need with a limited supply of goods to share.  People who have been on trips like this before tell us that it is just something you need to get used to; you help who you can because you can’t do much more.

In terms of our work, we accomplished a fair amount.  We managed to build the structure for 2 classrooms.  The flooring and roof will now be done by local labour after our departure.  When I get home I can post some pictures of our work.

The thing that has hit home for me the most is the pure joy that you see on the faces of the local people.  When I’m at home, its not a stretch to say that I spend more time worrying then I do smiling and I have never missed a meal, I’ve never had to wonder where my parents are, in general I’ve lived an incredibly lucky life.  Though many people here live on no more then 3 or 4 dollars a day, it seems that Nicaraguans go through life with a smile on their face.

In terms of agriculture here, I’m not sure what to think.  We have driven by some very prosperous looking farms with new grain bins and chicken barns that have obviously been built in the past couple of years but the majority of the land as been lying fallow for quite some time judging by the scruff trees that are popping up.  I’ve yet to get an answer on why it isn’t being farmed.  The only conclusive information is that it was once used for sugarcane production but when the local processor was sold and closed that industry collapsed.  You can see that there is some potential in the soil judging by the farms described above and I hypothesize that with a little foreign investment Nicaragua could be returned to its former place of Central America’s breadbasket.

Anyways, the bus is here and I’ve got to run