Where can Canadians find everything they need to know about farming all wrapped into a neat 60-page package? It’s all in The Real Dirt on Farming.
Farm & Food Care Ontario officially unveiled the newest version of its flagship public outreach publication last month. This new Real Dirt is the fourth edition since the project’s inception in 2006. To date, three million copies have been distributed across the nation to libraries, doctors’ offices, dieticians, political leaders, educators, and many more.
The Real Dirt on Farming is a nation-wide initiative designed to help Canadians connect with their food and the farmers that produce it — who they are, what they do, and why they do it. Using both stories and credible science, the publication addresses common questions and misconceptions about Canadian food and farming, as well as other subjects that the general public has indicated are important to them. It also highlights innovations that support Canada’s diverse food system, and shares unique personal experiences.
So how does Farm & Food Care decide what goes into the publication? In this interview, the magazine’s editor, Matt McIntosh explains how he and the Farm & Food Care team help Canadians keep pace with the changing food and farming landscape using a mix of consumer research and new data from Statistics Canada’s 2016 Census of Agriculture.
McIntosh notes that the new Real Dirt on Farming has expanded to incorporate advances in science, more farmer experiences and consumer questions. Substantial effort has also been made to ensure all information sources are credible and accessible to readers.
The full publication is now available online. Hard copies may be ordered from the website. A shorter digest version is currently being developed to help expand the publication’s reach. McIntosh notes that the Real Dirt on Farming is also powered by a growing social media campaign focused on sharing the information contained in the publication.