Your resource for information and stories on Canadian food and farmers – who they are, what they do, and why they do it.

Misinformation about the food we eat is seemingly endless, and sifting through it for genuine facts and stories can be a strain.

To help address this problem, Farm & Food Care has once again published The Real Dirt on Farming. Now in its fourth edition, this publication is a one-stop shop for your questions and concerns about Canadian agriculture.

The Real Dirt on Farming helps answer common questions about Canadian agriculture and the people who work in our food sector – who they are, what they do, and how they grow or raise the products we use every day. It covers a wide range of subjects, from the rules for raising farm animals to how farmers use pesticides, and paints an informative yet compelling picture of the diversity of Canadian agriculture.

Let’s take crops, for example

Grains, oilseeds and pulses (such as wheat, canola and lentils) are some of the most commonly grown Canadian crops, though farmers from Newfoundland to British Columbia also produce a staggering array of fruits and vegetables. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they also make up a central part of the Canadian diet.

Prolific as they are, it’s hard to talk about crops without talking about pesticides, water use, biodiversity, GMOs, and so on. Indeed, misconceptions about these food items and how they are produced are almost as common as the crops themselves.

For example:

  • Did you know all food has to meet the same food safety standards, and all allowable pesticide residues are limited by Health Canada to at least 100 times lower than the safety limit?
  • Or that GMO foods are chemically identical to their counterparts grown from non-biotech crops?
  • How about the fact that many, many Canadian farms have their own Environmental Farm Plans?

Needless to say, crops and crop production is a big subject, so it takes up make a sizeable part of The Real Dirt on Farming. Still, it’s just one of many topics covered.

Sustainability is complex – and interesting!

It takes a lot of work to produce food in an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable way. A big part of Canada’s food story has to do with technology and a willingness to combine new discoveries with tried-and-true knowledge. How can we produce more food on less land? How can farmers adapt their practices to the uncertainties of climate change, or manage new pests that harm their crops and animals? These, and others, are common questions that science and continual learning can help us solve. The Real Dirt on Farming highlights many of the ways Canada’s modern farmers use technology to improve sustainability and overcome challenges.

Endless opportunities    

The Real Dirt on Farming is also designed to spur interest in all areas of agriculture, from the farm to food processing to the research laboratory and more. The idea is to help show Canadians the variety of career opportunities that exist within Canada’s food and farming sector. There are also accessible information source for those who want to dig deeper and learn more about a specific topic, and profiles featuring a wide variety of food and farming professionals to help illustrate the diversity of careers in farming and food.

The Real Dirt on Farming truly is an all-in-one book, and one that we hope you find useful. The publication can be found and downloaded for free at www.RealDirtonFarming.ca. Hard copies of the 60-page magazine can also be ordered through the website. A shorter 12 page version, as well as French translations, will also be available in the coming months.

By Farm & Food Care

About Farm & Food Care:

Farm & Food Care cultivates appreciation for food and farming by connecting farm gates to dinner plates. Farm & Food Care brings farmers, agricultural professionals, related businesses and other groups together with a mandate to provide credible information on food and farming in Canada. www.FarmFoodCare.org.