The directors for Lennox & Addington Federation of Agriculture pose with a new road sign thanking their community for buying Canadian food. Courtesy photo, Resi Walt

The Hastings Federation of Agriculture celebrated Canada’s Agriculture Day with a $2,100 donation to Gleaners Food Bank in Belleville.
Courtesy photo, Resi Walt

OTTAWA – “From Newfoundland to British Columbia and all across this great nation, Canadians are celebrating the women and men who work so hard to put high-quality food on our tables each and every day,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, speaking at a gathering of producers, grocery retail and agriculture industry leaders to mark Canada’s Agriculture Day in Ottawa on Feb. 11. “All across the country, Canada’s Agriculture Day is a tremendous celebration of our industry.”

More than 500 people gathered in Ottawa for presentations and festivities.

There are more than 200,000 farms across the country, and countless small- and medium-sized businesses in the agriculture sector. Agriculture is at the heart of our communities, key to our rural vitality.

In Eastern Ontario, several local events marked Agriculture Day. The Hastings Federation of Agriculture celebrated with a $2,100 donation to Gleaners Food Bank in Belleville. The money will be divided equally to all seven food banks under Gleaner’s umbrella. A statement from the Hastings Federation of Agriculture, which represents 650 farm families in Hastings County, said these families are proud to produce quality food for Canadian families. “We farmed today, thank you for buying Canadian!”

In Lennox and Addington county, the local federation of agriculture fed 50 farmers a pancake and sausage breakfast. Later, the directors for Lennox & Addington Federation of Agriculture gathered at the Fretts’ family farm, south of Napanee, to pose with a new road sign thanking their community for buying Canadian food. LAFA represents 350 farm families in Lennox and Addington County.

The 2020 edition of Canada’s Agriculture Day focused on strengthening the relationship between consumers and producers who share a common love and appreciation for home-grown food. It was among the top trending topics in Canada on Twitter with #CdnAgDay, with many participants posting photos of themselves raising a fork to their all-Canadian meals.

“The ‘Forks Up for Canadian Agriculture’ message resonated well and the campaign was a tremendous success,” said Debbie Bailey, spokesperson for Agriculture More Than Ever, one of the driving forces behind Canada’s Agriculture Day. “From our farms to our grocery stores, food is a great connector for all of us. Canadians are proud of the people who grow and process their food, and they are confident we have the safest, most affordable and delicious food in the world.”

Also on Canada’s Agriculture Day, in the country’s ,three biggest cities – Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver – hundreds of students gathered in their schools to hear stories and get to know farmers and the advantages of Canadian-made products.

“Canadian farmers work hard to feed us. Their resilience, their ability to innovate, their respect for the environment, the well-being of animals and their community are an endless source of inspiration for me. These women and men deserve our greatest appreciation. I am proud to celebrate their contributions on the occasion of Canada’s Agriculture Day,” said Minister Bibeau.

Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry contributed more than $143-billion to Canada’s GDP in 2018 and employed 2.3-million people. Agriculture and agri-food accounts for one in eight jobs in Canada.

The federal government’s priorities in agriculture include reaching $75-billion in exports by 2025, finalizing the implementation of compensation measures to producers and processors under supply management, and proactively collaborating with the provinces and territories to improve risk management programs for farm businesses.