If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know I’m passionate about the importance of farmers telling our own story. If we don’t, someone else will tell it for us and I’m not ok with that.
To that end, I take every opportunity to chat with people and answer their questions about agriculture, our practices and the health and safety of the food that ends up on grocery store shelves.
I’m continuing my series on the most prevalent “myths” that I think consumers are led to believe. You can read the first five in the series here.
6. Myth: Organic foods are more nutritious and pesticide-free.
Of course, this is a very personal choice and Canadians must choose the foods they enjoy and can afford. However, there is no research that proves organic food is healthier and worth the extra expense. It’s also important to note that organic farmers still use pesticides. In fact, they may even use more pesticides than conventional farmers since they are limited to using the natural variety of insect killers, which are less effective.
7. Myth: Farms are low-tech and not a great career choice
I feel very strongly about this one – it’s an exciting time to be in agriculture. Advancements in precision farming, data collection and modeling, artificial intelligence, plant genetics, agronomy, etc. are taking agriculture to a whole new level. AgTech is a booming sector that is only going to get bigger and more advanced as the food demands of the globe continue to grow. There are opportunities to work for great companies that pay well and offer benefits and career advancements. I talked about this in a previous blog post a few months ago.
8. Myth: Chemicals are the greatest threat to our food safety
In fact, biological contaminants are by far the most common food safety issue. Harmful bacteria like E. coli, salmonella or listeria, viruses and parasites can contaminate meat or produce. Thorough cooking, cleaning, and proper food storage are the best defense against these pathogens.
9. Myth: Canadian farms are controlled by the big chemical and seed companies
It’s true that farms work closely with chemical and seed companies. These are critical inputs that we need to grow our crops. However, these companies also realize they are there to serve farmers. As their customers, we have the final say on whether we buy their products or not. I am regularly asked for feedback so they can continue to innovate and develop better products. I never hold back, giving them my honest opinion on what they’re doing right or wrong. You can see more about this in my Farmside Chat video with Corteva President Bryce Eager.
10. Myth: Vertical farming and lab-grown meat are the way of the future
It’s important to remember that what works in a lab or on a small parcel of land isn’t necessarily scaleable or cost-effective. After all, who can afford $50 chicken nuggets?
Without a doubt, these advancements are both exciting and inspiring. Continued research into better ways to maximize yields, on less acres and in a way that benefits the environment will be good for farmers, consumers and the planet. In countries where traditional agriculture may be threatened due to climate issues and land availability, these new methods certainly warrant consideration.
When we’re talking about growing a global food supply, scalability is very important. We must all work together to grow a sustainable food supply and I strongly believe Canadian farmers will always be part of the solution.
I hope this post can open up a dialogue and encourage more conversation on these important topics. I encourage consumers to take a trip to the farmer’s market, visit a working farm and don’t assume that everything they see and read on social media is true.