What is the future of farming in Hastings County? We are in a period of transition. Some farms are getting bigger with a shift from dairy farming to cash crops and beef. There are also a growing number of small and medium-sized famers selling meat, vegetables, maple syrup and honey directly to the public. All are invited to a community feedback session on the Future of Farming in Hastings County on March 19 in Madoc.
Dr. Peter Andree and Kim Bittermann from Carleton University will discuss their results from talking with 21 farmers in Hastings County last summer. To help them analyze what's happening in agriculture and land management in Hastings County and to stimulate ideas, they have asked Kenneth Meter - president of Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis and a highly experienced agricultural economist and food systems analyst to help. Ken will give his impressions on the agricultural situation in Hastings County and talk about "Finding Food in Farm Country" in the context of our region.
"I am looking forward to seeing Hastings County and sharing what is happening in the States with examples of creative food systems. I hope to seed some ideas," said Ken Meter. Steve Duff, Chief Agricultural economist, is also part of the team.
Dr. Peter Andree and Kim Bittermann are with FLEdGE (Food Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged), which is a research and knowledge sharing partnership, exploring the role of community food initiatives across Canada and internationally in the quest for community-focused, sustainable food systems. Dr. Andree and Bittermann's research project focuses on sustainability and succession to the next generation of farmers. Asking the right questions is essential. Will our government policies support farmers wanting to adopt more sustainable practices and plans for succession? How do we strengthen the social resilience of our rural communities and how can we boost the economic viability of agricultural and other linked businesses in Hastings County?
Viable rural communities depend on resilient agriculture, and farmers depend on rural businesses. Ken Meter's pioneering studies of farm and food serve as a national model for analyzing rural economics and it has been adopted by 136 regions in 40 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. With 47 years of experience in rural community capacity building, Ken will demonstrate how a collaborative model could be developed for Hastings County. Participants will have the opportunity to help inform the project analysis and be part of the discussion. The Future of Farming in Hastings County takes place on Monday, March 19 at the Arts Centre Hastings, 230 Durham St S. in Madoc, from 6.30 to 9 pm. All are welcome at no charge. For more information, contact Louise Livingstone at infoharvesthastings.ca or call 613-395-4388.