The Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) has responded to concerns from farmer supporters about an article commissioned by the organization that was published in The Hill Times newspaper.
The column, written by third-party author Sophia Murphy, argued the Canadian government should expand the scope of its proposed national food policy to account for the global impact of Canadian agriculture, while referring to environmental and social aspects of Canadian farming.
“Canadian agriculture relies heavily on fossil fuels, which have an impact on the climate we all share. The whole world pays a price for Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, including some of the poorest regions of the world,” wrote Murphy, in the piece entitled “Time for a global Canadian food policy.”
She also raised concerns about the impact Canadian ag exports have on small-scale farmers in developing countries.
“(Small-scale farmers) are also actively ‘feeding the world,’ on a smaller scale but often more sustainably, if less competitively. A national food policy should delve into the international implications of the food we ship overseas,” said Murphy.
The article, which was reposted on and later removed from the Foodgrains Bank website, drew criticism from farmers, some of whom have supported CFGB, on social media. (Some examples below.)
I still support @Foodgrains and have seen firsthand their work in Ethiopia and support their conservation tillage program. I do not support the climate guilt fund or posting articles blaming supporters for climate change. That is an over reach that needs adressing.
— Dean Toews (@Dt8010) April 2, 2018
With so many negative views of modern agriculture one feels rather sour when such an article comes from an organization that’s been greatly supported by rural generosity even if it was by third party writing.
— Jay Schultz (@WheatlanderJay) April 3, 2018
This prompted a written response from CFGB’s executive director, Jim Cornelius, where he acknowledged “Canada’s farming community is at the heart of the Foodgrains Bank.”
“I want to clarify that the column does not reflect Canadian Foodgrains Bank official policy. It is not our practice to comment on or take policy positions regarding Canadian agriculture policy,” he wrote, replying to the concerns.
“We needed to assure supporters this wasn’t something that officially represented our positions and the policy stances that we take,” explains Cornelius, speaking with RealAgriculture’s Kelvin Heppner in the interview below.
“We are already looking at how these types of articles get posted to our website and what the vetting process is,” he continues. “Generally, the articles that we’re dealing with don’t touch on Canadian agriculture and Canadian agriculture policy. We, as an organization, don’t give much attention to domestic agriculture issues and issues that are often heatedly debated here in Canada. We focus on issues related to global hunger.”
Listen to Jim Cornelius discuss the article and CFGB’s policies on issues like climate change:
You can read Cornelius’ written response on the Foodgrains Bank’s website, here.