There is a very real disconnect between the people who produce food and the people who eat it. Many people live as though food just comes from the grocery store, never giving a moment's consideration to the hardworking ranchers and farmers who labour tirelessly to ensure the grocery stores have products to put out in the first place.
While movements like ‘farm to table’ may bring farmers to mind in a romantic or nostalgic sense, and occasionally even see more profits directly in the producer’s pocket, in practice for most people it still amounts to little more than ordering a meal at a restaurant and patting themselves on the back.
People really need to go visit a farm. Witness the hard work and love of the farmers for their product and see where your food really comes from. Better yet, buy farmer direct, support local and know exactly where your next meal comes from.
If more people did this not only would people get better food, not to mention the resulting health benefits, but as a society, I also suspect it would go a long way to unifying rural and metropolitan Canadians. Without spending time on a farm, the challenges food producers face are very abstract, but when you know the family that raises your beef and you hear about skyrocketing costs and taxes on ranchers, your concern moves away from the abstract into the realm of concern for a fellow citizens livelihood, not to mention knowing that these increased costs will inevitably be passed along to the consumer.
I joined Gary Sweetnam, who is the owner and rancher at Glengary Bison, a little ways north of Calgary to visit his herd of bison and to learn about life as a rancher. We also chatted about the benefits of locally sourced products, buying farmer direct and the challenges many are facing with mounting costs and ever-climbing taxes.
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