Agriculture feeds 37 million Canadians as of May 2021.
The food we buy in grocery stores relies on farmers and people working in agriculture and food businesses who plant, grow, harvest, prepare, package and distribute for selling.
Nova Scotia farm families contribute roughly $600 million each year to Nova Scotia’s economy. Nevertheless, labour shortages in Nova Scotia accounted for $28 million dollars in lost sales in 2021.
We are glad to partner with The Nova Scotia Young Farmers (NSYF) for our Community Cups in September! The coffee roast dedicated to support NSYF is "But First, Farmers"
Tell us about Nova Scotia Young Farmers!
NS Young Farmers are 18-40 year old Nova Scotians who want to connect with others who care about agriculture, learn about opportunities and innovation and grow their knowledge and businesses.
Our mission is to support the growth and development of young farmers and agriculture professionals through networking and learning opportunities. While our vision is, growing the next generation of industry leaders to ensure a sustainable future for Nova Scotia agriculture.
How many young farmers do you have as members of NSYF?
We currently have 80 members so far this year! However, our membership is made up of all young people in the agriculture industry – not just farmers. Our members range from farmers and farm employees, to production and sales, to transport etc.
What is the biggest difference between small and large-scale farms?
Honestly, one of biggest differences is simply the size of operation. Nova Scotia is home to farms of every shape and size. There are farms that sell at farm stands at the end of their driveways, farms that sell to stores like Walmart, Loblaws and Sobeys, farms that sell at farmers’ markets, farms that have Community Shared Agriculture programs, or farms that have online stores.
What is the biggest misconception about working in agriculture?
That farming isn’t a viable career path. We’re currently in a time where the connection between people and the food they eat, is often only as deep as buying it at the grocery store. But there are so many opportunities with agriculture, not just farming! Folks are unaware of the wide array of careers there are in food and farming. Technology is huge, there is work in research and development, marketing, banking, sales, the list goes on.
What do you think are the challenges facing young farmers from the effects of climate change, and what support could they receive to help mitigate those challenges?
Some of the challenges would be extreme weather events, and less predictable weather patterns. As well as new pests and diseases making their way to Nova Scotia.
Here in Nova Scotia, there are two big initiatives underway that are focused on tackling climate change. The Living Labs program focuses on identifying innovative technologies and on-farm management practices that can be adopted by farmers to tackle climate change. The solutions developed throughout the living labs will also help protect biodiversity on farms, improve water and soil quality, and, through the efficient management of resources and increased resilience, strengthen farmers’ bottom lines. Another is the On-Farm Climate Action Fund, which is an initiative to help farmers improve soil health, protect soil from erosion, and tackle climate change by adopting beneficial management practices that store carbon and reduce greenhouse gases.
Other examples could be introducing new crop varieties, and ensuring Business Risk Management Programs adequately support farmers when disaster strikes.
In your opinion, what can the community do to support small farmers, and what support could the government provide to support sustainability in agriculture?
Regardless of the size of operation, farms in Nova Scotia need support from our communities. Did you know that nearly all farms in our province are family run? That’s pretty cool! You can support Nova Scotia farms by looking for local products at the grocery store, farmers markets, restaurants etc.
Ensuring local food procurement in schools, hospitals, and other government institutions is a great step to support the sustainability of our food system. Developing programs and resources that meet the needs of the industry.
Is there anything that you wish more people knew about Nova Scotia Young Farmers?
We are a membership of people aged 18-40 involved or interested in NS Agriculture, not JUST farmers!
How can people get involved to support NSYF?
Check out our website and social platforms to follow along with what we’re doing. You can become an active member or even a supporting member if you want to get behind our initiatives.
Learn more about Nova Scotia Young Farmers (NSYF) by visiting https://nsyoungfarmers.ca/
Join us to support NSFY!
$1 from every bag of But First, Farmers! sold will be donated to The Nova Scotia Young Farmers, along with all drip coffee sales on Community Cups day on September 18th.
Figures source from Canada government website and Canada: Outlook for Principal Field Crops, 2022-06-20