Celebrating Canada’s Agriculture Day in CK

The Renwick family on their farm near Wheatley. (Photo courtesy of Brooke Anderson)

Canadians are being asked to “raise a fork” on Tuesday to honour local farmers and to celebrate the food they produce.

The initiative is part of Canada’s Agriculture Day, which aims to foster conversations and connections with local farmers so that Canadians get a better understanding of where their food comes from.

In Chatham-Kent, one of those farmers is Chris Renwick.

A seventh-generation farmer, Renwick and his family still live on the original homestead in the Wheatley-area that was settled by his ancestors in 1820 — this year, they will be celebrating the farm’s 200th anniversary.

Over those 200 years, a lot has changed, including the average Canadian’s perception of what farmers do and how they do it.

Renwick said that’s one of the reasons agreed to take on a volunteer position as Ontario’s Agriculture More Than Ever Ambassador — to educate the public on what modern farming looks like. He also continues to meet with students in local classrooms across Chatham-Kent to give them a better idea of how their food gets from the field to their fork.

“It’s hard when you go into a classroom in Grade 7 and sometimes they have a misconception in their mind already,” said Renwick. “You wonder, ‘How do I change that or where did that come from or how do we get the truth out and make sure everyone understands that what we’re doing is important?'”

Renwick said the misconceptions also seem to be growing as people get further away from their agricultural roots.

“In the past, everyone had a very close connection to the farm — everyone either had an uncle or a grandparent or a friend that had a farm and I think that has really changed,” said Renwick.

He added the goal of Canada’s Agriculture Day is to remind Canadians that the food they see at the grocery store comes from somewhere — and that in some cases, it’s from a local farmer who is still doing a great job providing a clean and healthy food source for consumers within Canada.

Renwick also has some suggestions for how to celebrate the contributions of local producers on Canada’s Agriculture Day. One of them is to intentionally create a dish for dinner that’s all based on Canadian food.

“It’s a little bit harder at this time of year because we don’t have as plentiful of a vegetable selection, but there are lots of crops that have been grown [in Canada] that have been processed or are in storage that we can use,” said Renwick. “So, you can create a dish for your family that night that is all-Canadian… or better yet, all Chatham-Kent produced.”

Some of the other suggestions include:

– posting a photo or making a video and to share what you are doing using the #CdnAgDay.

– teaching someone something new about agriculture by sharing your knowledge and story with others

The Kent Federation of Agriculture celebrated the day by coordinating local food donations to both The Salvation Army and Outreach for Hunger in Chatham-Kent.

You can find more suggestions and information about Canada’s Agriculture Day by clicking here.