Farm & Food Care offers individual membership to bolster funding

Farm & Food Care Ontario traces its roots back 30 years to the Ontario Farm Animal Council. This photo from 2003 features the first five chairs of OFAC: Bruce Christie, Mike Cooper, Jim Johnstone, Jim Magee and Bob Dobson.

It’s been 30 years since a fledgling organization called the Ontario Farm Animal Council began working to counter the efforts of activists opposed to animal agriculture in Ontario.

After three decades, which included a name change and an amalgamation with AgCare, a like-minded farm organization concerned about resources and environmental stewardship, Farm & Food Care Ontario is now charting a course for its next 30 years.

The organization’s task is simple, yet daunting: help consumers understand where their food comes from and how it’s produced by providing credible information to an increasingly urban public, many of whom are three and four generations removed from the farm.

It’s a big job and it costs money. To help get the job done, Farm & Food Care Ontario is launching a new membership category that encourages individuals to donate $60 to the cause annually.

Financials released at the organization’s annual meeting last month show that agribusinesses and farmers contributed the majority of the $1.5 million Farm & Food Care Ontario used to fund its activities in 2017. Initiatives include production of The Real Dirt on Farming magazine which will be delivered directly to 200,000 Canadian households through the Globe and Mail newspaper on May 12. Other consumer outreach efforts include popular Breakfast on the Farm events that attracted about 4,000 people in 2017; and a host of influencer events designed to help groups such as registered dieticians gain a better understanding of primary food production.

In this interview, Farm & Food Care executive director Kelly Daynard tells Real Agriculture that the organization is eternally grateful for the ongoing support it receives from the industry.

Story continues below the interview.

“For a long time, we’ve had multiple levels of membership, from our platinum level members who really put a roof over our heads and essentially allow us to come to work every day, to the $5,000 and $1,500 dollar levels,” says Daynard. “But the organization has recognized that there are many individuals within the industry who don’t fit into to these donor categories who would like to contribute.”

With one in eight jobs in Canada directly linked to agriculture, there is a tremendous opportunity to tap into individual support for Farm & Food Care, notes Daynard.

“There is so much more that could be done if our budgets were bigger. We are very generously supported by an awful lot of agribusinesses, commodity groups, right down to the individual farmer who will send us $250 a year and tell us to continue working on their behalf,” says Daynard. “But, honestly, if we had another $10 million dollars, there still wouldn’t be enough to keep reaching out and finding new ways and getting to consumers where they are in the big, urban centres. Projects like The Real Dirt, projects like virtual farm tours, Breakfasts on the Farm, they’re all huge successes for us, but they all take money.”

Click here for more details on the Farm & Food Care Ontario Individual Membership.


Bernard Tobin

Bernard Tobin is Real Agriculture's Ontario Field Editor. AgBern was raised on a dairy farm near St. John's, Newfoundland. For the past two decades, he has specialized in agricultural communications. A Ryerson University journalism grad, he kicked off his career with a seven-year stint as Managing Editor and Field Editor for Farm and Country magazine. He has received six Canadian Farm Writers' Federation awards for journalism excellence. He's also worked for two of Canada's leading agricultural communications firms, providing public relations, branding and strategic marketing. Bern also works for Guelph-based Synthesis Agri-Food Network and talks the Real Dirt on Farming.


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