They say 98% of all farms in Canada are family farms. But what exactly is family farming? Small farms? Big farms? Artisan farms? High-tech farms? Agriculture has evolved over the years, as society has shifted from subsistence farming to the farm business of today. In the past, the family farm was exactly how we imagine it, the bucolic image of Mom and Dad working their plot of land along with their eight kids and a barn with five cows, 20 chickens and three pigs. They would feed themselves and sell the rest. That is subsistence farming. But what is family farming in 2015?
There is little agreement on a definition. Yet, once we accept the fact that agricultural models today come in all shapes and sizes, we can reach agreement on a broad description. Family farming reflects the family’s heritage and tradition. Whether there are several generations involved in the business or they are working to feed several families with high-quality products, there are as many types as there are farms. There is no one overarching definition. Rather, there are all kinds of family farms to meet all kinds of consumer needs. Not only does agriculture feed us, it’s a vocation that allows us to live off this vast and beautiful land. Agriculture – with all the care farmers put into it – provides a taste of the soil and a sense of place.
So, what is family farming? It is passionate and devoted people who don’t count their hours, whether they manage a farm of 5,000 acres or a herd of 100 goats, whether they work alone or as a team to do 100% of the work. They may have the latest in technology or may choose to farm the old-fashioned way. They are all farm businesses, family farm businesses. They are caring people who want to live off the fruits of their labour and hope that you will taste the difference. Family farming – it is a taste, it is a scent, it is life! #farmlife