let's talk farm animals

A lifelong passion for farming educates thousands

 By Patricia Grotenhuis

What happens when you mix a farmer and former school teacher with an urban area?  You get a Learning Barn which provides thousands of people the opportunity each year to learn about where their food comes from.

Mary Ann Found and spokesrobot Owen talk to a young fan about farming

Mary Ann Found always loved teaching children about agriculture.  While her children were young, she would invite their classes to come visit the farm for a tour.  While teaching at a nearby school, she would often bring farming into her lesson plans, and even brought live animals to school from time to time.

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Posted by Farm and Food Care on March 1st, 2012 :: Filed under Agriculture Education,Consumers,Education and public awareness,Farm life,Speaking out
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The Power of Words

Guest Blog by: Sarah Hubbart, Communications Director, Animal Agriculture Alliance

Last week, I came across interesting new research on effective communication strategy that was conducted on behalf of the Humane Research Council (HRC), VegFund, and the Farm Animal Rights Movement, three organizations that work to promote a vegan diet.

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Posted by FFC on February 20th, 2012 :: Filed under Activism,Education and public awareness,Research,Speaking out,Vegan
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Agriculture is the Future

by Kristen Kelderman, Farm Animal Care Coordinator, Farm & Food Care Ontario

Deciding on your career path fresh out of high school at the ripe young age of 18 is a difficult decision for many young adults. The options are endless and the stakes are high. Four years ago, my heart was set on becoming a physiotherapist; I was fascinated with anatomy and wanted to help people through the recovery process. But on my first visit to the University of Guelph campus I felt an instant connection and came to the realization that my true calling was agriculture. I have never looked back since and have no regrets.

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Posted by Farm and Food Care on February 16th, 2012 :: Filed under Agriculture Education,careers,Education and public awareness,Future of Farming,Speaking out
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Why are you choosing organic?

Guest Blog: Lisa McLean, Agricultural communicator

I am fortunate to surround myself with a number of strong, intelligent, critical-thinking friends. Many of them are also parents, and all of them want the very best for their families. 

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Posted by FFC on February 7th, 2012 :: Filed under Consumers,Food,Media,Organics,Speaking out
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Sometimes I just can’t take it any more

Guest blog by:  Gene Gregory, President United Egg Producers

I know that many in agriculture have similar thoughts on the attacks upon our businesses and modern agriculture but sometimes I just can’t take anymore of it.  Here are some of my thoughts:

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Posted by FFC on November 1st, 2011 :: Filed under Consumers,Economics,Education and public awareness,Food safety,Misconceptions,Speaking out
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There is no reasoning with the unreasonable

By: Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

One of the great things about our country is the freedom to express and defend our personal opinions.  We have more venues to do so than ever before.  Not so long ago I was pulled into an on-line discussion on food animal production. The discussion was prompted by a CBC radio commentary on egg production but quickly moved into animal farming and food practices in general and the need to eat animal products in the first place. Illustrating how agriculture crosses into so many issues.

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Posted by FFC on October 24th, 2011 :: Filed under Activism,Housing,Misconceptions,Speaking out,Vegetarian
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Farmers’ view of Ag careers rosier than public’s

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and Food commentator

A few blogs ago I wrote about a U.S. listing of dirty jobs that no one wants. That list included several that were ag-related. Unbeknownst to me, a study has also been done here in Canada. The results of the Farm Credit Canada survey were recently released. And it is not good news for attracting new entrants to the farming sector.

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Posted by FFC on October 3rd, 2011 :: Filed under Consumers,Food,Speaking out
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Passion for farming results in presentations by student to hundreds of fellow classmates

We think this Canadian student’s passion for farming and his willingness to talk openly to others is an inspiration. In the last few months, he has spoken to hundreds of students at a Woodstock-area high school about food and farming. Keep reading to hear Rudi’s story.

by Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate.

When Rudi Spruit attended a recent conference of the Junior Farmers’ Association of Ontario and saw a presentation about the misinformation consumers have about agriculture and food, he knew he wanted to do something to help spread the right information. “There are lots of misconceptions. Even teachers have some. I try to encourage others to learn,” says Spruit, a young farmer from Ontario.

What has evolved from an idea formed in March has turned into a 50 minute presentation made to various classes at Spruit’s school. So far, Spruit estimates he has presented to 300 students from his 850 student school. Spruit says there are a total of between 20 and 25 farmers attending the school.

Rudi and his classmate Drew give a presentation on farming to a class at their high school.

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Posted by FFC on June 6th, 2011 :: Filed under Canada,Dairy cattle,Education and public awareness,Misconceptions,Pigs,Speaking out,Urban Myths
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Why Farmers should NOT Speak Up

For more than a decade now, there’s been a movement across Canada with a goal of empowering farmers to take a chance, Speak Up, and share their passion for farming with the public – most of whom have no direct connection with food or farming. And we’re happy to report that movement appears to be growing. We’re seeing farmers start blogs, tweet from their tractors, write letters to the editor on topics of importance to them and take a chance on doing more media interviews when we know that they’d much rather be working in their barns or in their fields. Michele Payn-Knoper of Indiana is a farmer and an agricultural advocate who works tireless to champion the farmers’ cause. We especially like this blog post, posted at www.causematters.com earlier this year and reprinted here with permission from her. Michele’s cited a number of the “excuses” she’s heard for farners not speaking up about agriculture – if you have any more, feel free to comment on the blog post below! –  OFAC

 The new year typically starts with motivational tips, hype about resolutions and pressure to make promises of how we’re going to do things differently. Not me. I’m bringing an entirely different perspective on advocacy – a highly sarcastic view on why we SHOULD NOT tell agriculture’s story. Several ag folks from across the U.S. and Canada added to the list on Twitter and Facebook – you’re welcome to post your own comment in the spirit of some fun.
Shhh, there’s no need to tell your story!

15.  Agriculture has little economic contribution – and the American economy is thriving.  After all, 80%+ of the economy isn’t reliant on the agrifood system – and surely your community doesn’t benefit from property taxes and jobs paid by farms.

14. “It’s embarrassing to have people thank you for producing their food. I don’t want people to think I am a corporate shill (every farmer who speaks out is one, right?) says sheep and daughter raiser Venessa in her own Spartan sarcasm.

13. “Who needs consumers anyway? I can still farm without people to buy my grain and animals that eat my grain. I like grain storage.  Those big shiny bins are SO pretty and cheap…” was a heavily sarcastic comment from Sarah Bedgar Wilson, a young farmer in North Dakota (the cold made her do it, I’m sure).

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Posted by FFC on March 4th, 2011 :: Filed under Consumers,Education and public awareness,Farm life,HSUS,Misconceptions,Speaking out,Uncategorized,Urban Myths
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