7, 2003: A number of visions for farming are driving
change in North American
There is the global vision that emphasizes low-cost production
for international markets using lots of technology, off-farm
inputs and standardized management systems. There is the organic
vision that emphasizes biological cycles, biodiversity, minimal
off-farm inputs and ecological harmony. There is the low-input
sustainable vision that emphasizes reduced chemical-based
farm inputs and intensive management while maintaining the
productivity of the natural resource base.
Some farmers follow one or the other vision with all the
entrepreneurial determination they can muster. Most, however,
adopt or adapt slices of each of these visions for their farm
Into this mix of visions the Christian Farmers Federation
has put forward a fresh vision for Ontario agriculture - a
vision for moderate-scale, productive family farms throughout
our countryside that take care of creation, support local
community development and provide great places to live.
CFFO's vision document "Closer to the Heart" chronicles
the long-term problems within Ontario agriculture, the values
that CFFO members hold, the parts of Ontario agriculture that
need to be maintained or strengthened, and an action plan
that will enhance and enrich family farm agriculture.
It is a vision broadly rooted in quality of life, not narrowly
productive and market potential of Ontario's farming resources.
In short, it is a vision for an integrated and multi-benefit
CFFO's six-point vision action plan will be the focus of
a series of workshops across the province this winter. I invite
you to join us at one of our nineteen workshops. Help us explore
the potential of the action plan.
Two of the proposed actions will be the subject of focused
1. Strengthened marketing legislation to guarantee farmers
a fairer share ofthe consumer food dollar?
2. Putting a small charge on the retail sale of food to pay
environmental services agriculture provides?
Join us in asking: What are the barriers to getting these
accomplished? What opportunities do we have or can we create
for achieving these actions?
We will also explore recommendations for a) focusing support
on family farm agriculture; b) protecting the best farmland;
c) creating effective dialogue between farmers and society
and d) legislating funding for basic agricultural research.
CFFO's proposals for enhancing family farm agriculture in
Ontario are bold. They are rooted in values that come from
our hearts and our faith. Come and help us test the practicality
of the action plan.
The series will continue through April 10 in Emo in the Rainy
River District. Dates, details and registration are on the
CFFO website at www.christianfarmers.org
or call: (519) 837-1620.
Elbert van Donkersgoed is the Strategic Policy Advisor of
the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, Canada. CFFO
is supported by 4,500 family farmers across the province of
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