Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New life coming to the fields

I've been itching to get out of the office and look at some fields.  It's been a long winter.  I was happy to see a plant growing in one of my winter wheat fields.  This was on a high area that has thawed and is drier than most of the field.  The frost is still pretty solid in most of the field but I'd expect to see the field really green up next weekend.  Some of the low areas that have a sheet of ice over them may not fair so well but the only thing to do is wait and see.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

To Make a Farm (film)

Watch "To Make a Farm" online

I recently came across a film called To Make a Farm.  Its very hard to get into farming but all of the people profiled in the film are starting out at it and are intentionally making it small and local.  One of the highlights for me was of the farmers observation that he is not trying to start a movement and really wouldn't want to call it that.  This is his way of doing things and for the most part the farmers profiled are just doing what they are doing without any grand plan.

There are references to "industrial agriculture" and what it has brought over the past 100 years.  As in a film like this you'd expect it to be portrayed in a negative light and for the most part it was.  However, they did refer to the poverty of most farmers in the early 1900's and how farmers really had to need for something better.

I see agriculture differently than in the film.  Its not a distinct line between small, local, organic and big industrialized farms.  It is a continuum.  There is a reason people shifted to new technology - it worked.  If you could buy a tractor that saved hard labour, why wouldn't you?  If you could spray a chemical and kill lots of weeds, why wouldn't you?  You have to remember that at the time when all this technology came out people did not know about the environment and did not know about the effect of burning fuel.  They did know hard labour and they did know going hungry.

Attitudes are changing in agriculture and new generation is coming up.  On April 22nd there will be a group of young, Alberta farmers that are looking to agriculture as a bright future.  Look for the hashtag #farmvoices showing up that day and go their website to see what they are about.