CFFO: National Days In February Mark Agriculture’s Importance

By Clarence Nywening

Our country likes to celebrate, and as such, our calendar is full of holidays, national days and other celebrations. Some are more sentimental, like the upcoming Valentine’s Day, while others border on the ridiculous, like National Hot Sauce Day.

The Christian Farmers Federation would like to highlight two February dates that we think hold special significance. Today, February 9th, is Food Freedom Day. On this day, we celebrate the fact that the average Canadian has made enough money to pay for his or her groceries for the year.

In the past, food was hard bought. Long hours and hard toil produced a crop that served a farming family and few others. Now, with improvements in agriculture, a farmer can produce more food that is safer, healthier and more affordable. In Canada, we have a lot to be thankful for.

Even as we commemorate Food Freedom Day today, we also look forward next week to celebrating Canada’s Agriculture Day. We shift our focus from the benefits and affordability of safe, healthy food to considering those farmers who have made it all possible. On February 13, think of those farmers who have taken the time to manage their crops and care for their flocks or herds so that each acre of farmland can produce safe food while also maintaining the value and bounty of their land.

Often in the winter, we forget about the work that farmers are doing. Though they may not be in their fields, they continue their work by caring for equipment, planning out crop rotations and maintaining nutrient management so they can continue to use and care for their land.

Think also of the livestock farmers who don’t get weekends or holidays but care for their animals twenty-four seven so that consumers can have meats, cheeses, eggs and milk on a year-round basis. Thanks to the effort of so many Canadian farmers, consumers can still buy locally grown foods at an affordable price.

Now is the time to celebrate. If you have enough to eat and don’t worry about your grocery bill, consider making a donation to a local food bank to help support those who cannot afford groceries. Then, on Canada’s Agriculture Day, enjoy a meal made from locally grown ingredients. You may be surprised at the bounty you can find even during the winter months. And don’t forget to spread the word, so others can enjoy the abundance found in their own backyards!

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Clarence Nywening is President of the Executive Board for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKXFM Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and UCB Canada radio stations in Chatham, Belleville, Bancroft, Brockville and Kingston.