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Family Farmers: The Next Generation

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Pioneers of the organic basket program, established nearly twenty-five years ago, Équiterre’s family farmers are a shining example for new farmers. For the past three years, about twenty new organic farms have joined the network every year. Most of these farms are run by young farmers, who often start off by renting some land to grow their organic vegetables. As part of Équiterre’s network, they get to benefit from advice from experienced farmers, when needed.

Farming on a human scale

Organic farming is the most logical option for many of these young producers, who belong to a generation that is well aware of the environmental impacts of traditional agriculture and of the importance of healthy food. “If people were to ask us to grow vegetables the traditional way, I don’t think we’d know how!” explain Éloise, Francis and Laurence, owners of Les Carottés, a recent addition to Équiterre’s family farmers network.

These twenty-something farmers, along with their peers who are well versed in social media communication, are coming up with new ways to build relationships with partners and subscribers, and to promote the network to a wider audience.

Local organic food for a healthy environment

“By choosing to eat our vegetables, our clients are not only putting good healthy food in their bodies, but they’re also contributing to the local economy, building a healthier environment and helping to slow down the rural exodus,” explains Laurence. “There’s a growing interest in organic food and people want to buy directly from farmers who share their values.”

Marketing their produce through Équiterre’s organic basket program helps these young farmers to kick start their farming projects. It gives them the opportunity to build up a loyal clientele right from the start so that they can focus their efforts on harvesting in the summer, as organic basket subscriptions are sold in advance.

For Les Carottés, as it is for the other farmers in the network, it is an honour to be able to provide their clients with organic and healthy food. The most rewarding part of their job? “To see our vegetables thriving, to nurture our relationships with our clients and the simple pleasures of working on the farm.”

As Laurence says, “In this time where environmental and social issues are rife, one of the network’s great strengths is that it empowers people to take charge of where their food comes from, and to take concrete actions for the health of our land, our economy and our families.”

Contest for new organic basket subscribers!

Have you reserved your summer organic basket yet? Sign up by June 17 for the chance to win a dining experience for two at the La Ferme des Quatre-Temps, served by Manitoba Restaurant (value of $380). Hurry, deliveries start soon!