Farm & Food Care has officially unveiled the fifth edition of The Real Dirt on Farming, our flagship public-outreach publication.
The Real Dirt on Farming is a nation-wide initiative designed to help Canadians connect with their food and the farmers that produce it – who they are, what they do, and why they do it. Using both stories and credible science, the 60-page publication addresses common questions and misconceptions about Canadian food and farming, as well as other subjects that the general public has indicated are important to them.
The booklet is created through a partnership of the three Farm & Food Care organizations in Saskatchewan, Ontario and Prince Edwards Island and was written by freelance journalist Lilian Schaer. An expert committee comprised of researchers, commodity and subject matter experts were also involved in reviewing and vetting content which was determined, in part, through questions asked by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity in its annual public trust survey of Canadian consumers.
To keep pace with Canada’s changing food and farming landscape, many new subjects have been added including Indigenous agriculture, medicinal and ceremonial crops, plant-based proteins, regenerative agriculture, plastics and sustainable packaging, livestock and the Canadian grasslands and African Swine Fever.
The 2020 edition also includes a significant focus on careers in agriculture with feature stories on 32 people working different careers across the country including primary producers, research scientists, animal care researchers, a livestock transporter, software developer, chef, Registered Dietitian, seasonal agricultural workers, entomologist, food Scientist and more.
This is the fifth edition published since the project’s inception in 2006. To date, 4.5 million copies have been distributed across Canada to libraries, doctors’ offices, Registered Dietitians, political leaders, educators and through inserts in national publications.
New to this edition will be a classroom resource currently being developed by Agriculture in the Classroom Canada. This resource will be completed in the winter of 2021 and will be distributed, along with the booklet, to classrooms across Canada with the help of provincial Agriculture in the Classroom organizations.
The publication is currently available online on a newly-developed website platform at www.RealDirtonFarming.ca. Hard copies may also be ordered from the website. Both a digest version and a French translation of the publication will be available in hard copy and online in January 2021.
In total, more than 25 companies and agribusinesses across Canada supported the 2020 initiative. Champion level partners include Cargill, Canada Beef, Canola Eat Well, CropLife Canada, Farm Credit Canada, Wallenstein Feed & Supply Ltd. Partner supporters include: Burnbrae Farms, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Gray Ridge Egg Farms, Egg Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Agri Business Association.
The project was funded, in part, through the AgriCompetitiveness program of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative.