My Side of the Fence

Connection With the City Dwellers

  • Peter de Jong, Author
  • Dairy Farmer, Southeastern Manitoba

Recently a large Toronto newspaper published articles against supply management. When asked the question “are you against GMO?”, many people in the city answered Yes! When asked if they know what “GMO” means, a recent study found 99.9% of city residents did not know. Many people say they are against it, but they really don’t what they are talking about.

This same newspaper in Toronto promotes the removal of supply management for the Canadian farmers, but has no idea that their readers haven’t a clue as to what this means for rural communities. Supply management farming is a way to stand up against large multi-national corporations, who are only in it for a large pay cheque for the CEO, Board of Directors and the Shareholders.

Canada is a country where we are proud to stand up against social injustice. Why are our city residents getting mislead by this large Toronto newspaper? It is pretty simple. Due to the large amount of people who have no rural background and who do not know that living in the country comes with a much higher cost than living in the urban city. We pay more for groceries, our phone, fuel, and pay considerably more for the maintenance of roads. By taking supply management away from the farmers, this would be a big economical blow for rural communities. Farmers will not be able to hire employees, will not spend their money to buy equipment from the dealers, etc. Their kids will move to the city to find a job.

Does this Toronto newspaper understand that in every country, in the last ten years when supply management is dissolved, the price the farmers get for their end product dropped in half? But the price in the grocery stores, what the people pay in the city went up 15%!  Where did the 65% go? Not in the farmer’s pocket and not in the consumer’s pocket! It is in the 1% pocket of the CEO, Board of Directors and the Shareholders.

So how do we get a better connection with the City residents? The Canadian farmer has to start thinking out of the box, some great new ideas. For example, the produce store in Ottawa, Farm Boy Foods, has a life-sized, moving mannequin, that gives the consumer information on the farming background of dairy products, fresh produce and the meat they sell.

Ask any child in the city, where their food comes from and the response is “from the store.”! They have no idea, that behind every product, there is a hard working Canadian farmer and his family, making sure the grocery store gets quality food on their shelves and into their coolers.

Dear readers, the media is has the power to influence those who have no idea what the newspaper is talking about. When  such a reporter is on such a self appointed mission, the article can have a large impact on the Canadian future, our farmers and their families, friends and rural towns.

A recent study in Hong Kong shows that 80% of the readers of the STAR do not believe the articles anymore. I am wondering if the readers of this Toronto newspaper maybe stop believing its articles, as well. I don’t think any newspaper would want this to happen. So dear readers, when you talk to your MP next, or any candidates, tell them that you like food security and do not want to be dependent on foreign food imports. SECURE OUR FOOD, BUY CANADIAN.