Documentary explores the truth behind common misconceptions of agriculture, and empowers farmers to stand up and advocate for their social license to farm
Canada is a world leader in agriculture and food production, but farming doesn’t look the same as it did a hundred, fifty, or even ten years ago. Farmers are producing more with less, using more efficient and sustainable practices than ever before. Yet consumer interest in farming and doubts around the way food is produced is on the rise. Consumer concern of agricultural practices has the potential to impact farmers and their right to farm. When did fear begin to trump science and fact when it comes to food production – and how do we earn back that invaluable consumer confidence?
Enter the new documentary that we’ve been busy working on, entitled License to Farm. This thirty minute documentary originated from a need we saw in the conversation about food; the need for factual information, for credible voices, and for Canadian farmers to demonstrate leadership in agriculture advocacy. Our federal and provincial governments also recognized this need and we are grateful to them for the generous funding support we received through the Growing Forward 2, Ag-Awareness Initiative.
After nearly two years of production, the film made its debut in January of 2016 during Crop Production Week in Saskatoon. First, an exclusive premiere screening was held at the Roxy Theatre on January 13 with over 100 delegates in attendance, including the Honourable Lyle Stewart, Minister of Agriculture, and His Worship Mayor Don Atchison, City of Saskatoon; then a sneak peek was held at the Crop Production Show on January 14 open to all tradeshow attendees; and finally the live online launch was accompanied by a Twitter chat on January 15 in which some of industry experts featured in the film answered questions and engaged with the viewers. The License to Farm Twitter chat had us trending in Canada for the afternoon!
Fast forward to June 2016, and the License to Farm documentary has been viewed over 69,000 times on YouTube; quickly becoming an international sensation that has reached 166 countries so far. Pretty impressive for a short documentary that stemmed from a producer group in Saskatchewan!
The film focuses on building awareness of the issues of social license, and then delves into three common myths with expert comments provided on truths about the myths. The three myths include:
- GMOs are not safe and have not been tested for safety.
- Pesticides are liberally used by farmers and are unsafe.
- Farms are owned by big corporations and farmers do not have the capacity to make their own choices about inputs.
The film concludes with a call to action for farmers to speak up on these issues. Farmers can play an integral role by engaging in meaningful conversations, opening the doors to their livelihood and building trust with their communities.
SaskCanola wants License to Farm to be part of the solution that helps farmers find their voice to advocate for themselves about their passion – farming for a living. While we initiated this project, we strongly encourage the entire agriculture industry to adopt and show this film to as many people as possible. Our hope is that this will be the start of a domino effect, a game changer in agriculture for the social license debate. The documentary will remain online so that it can be shared with your networks of colleagues, family, and friends. The greater the audience we share this with, the better common ground we think will be gained between us, the food producers, and the public, the people who eat our healthy, nutritious products. We hope you are all excited as we are with the final product! Countless hours went into the production of this film but the end result is something we are proud of…and we can’t wait to share it with everyone. Please get in touch with us if we’ve sparked your interest and you need some more information about how to use this material going forward, we’d be happy to discuss with you.
So join the conversation! Following the License to Farm story on Twitter @licensetofarm, on Facebook and Instagram at License to Farm, and on the microsite at www.licensetofarm.com
Don’t let your silence take away your license to farm!
For more information about License to Farm, please contact:
Executive Director, SaskCanola