If you live in Cochrane, it's easy to have food on the brain this month.
There's lots of food-related festivities in Cochrane throughout August, with events like the Cochrane Food Fest returning on Aug. 12 (see story on page 5) and the participation of two local restaurants in the ongoing Alberta on the Plate festival (see story on page 11). Both local events put the focus on food by celebrating local makers, bakers, and growers.
And next weekend, on Aug. 19 and 20, the popular Alberta Open Farm Days will return to our province, providing those in Cochrane and elsewhere the opportunity to tour participating farms, ranches, greenhouses, and other agriculture-related facilities for free to learn about where our food comes from.
In today's urbanized day and age, most of us have become disconnected from our food sources. We understand the process and what agriculture and the food economy entails, but we've lost a deeper understanding of where our food comes from and how it ends up on our grocery store shelves a few days or weeks later.
That's why events like Open Farm Days are so great – they provide a way to get back to our roots, so to speak. While it was common in the past to grow up on a farm (or at least have a parent or grandparent who did) that lifestyle has largely been replaced by a city-oriented society. Agriculture is in a state of transition across Canada, and mostly gone are the days of passing down the family farm from one generation to the next.
And that is concerning. According to a report published earlier this year by RBC, 40 per cent of Canada's farmers are slated to retire in the next decade and roughly two-thirds don't have succession plans. Over the same period, a shortfall of 24,000 general farm, nursery and greenhouse workers is expected to emerge across Canada.
All the more reason, then, to promote and applaud local growers through attending events like those mentioned above.