Building trust in our food

Few relationships are more personal than the one we have with our food.

We trust that what we eat will sustain us, nourish us and help keep us healthy.

In Canada, public trust in our food supply is high, a fact that’s been proven repeatedly in studies carried out by Ipsos Reid for AGCare and the Ontario Farm Animal Council (OFAC).

But as increasingly fewer Canadians know how food is produced and where it comes from, those numbers won’t stay high forever.

This means farmers need to become involved in the discussion about the future of farming and food production that is good for people, animals and the planet.

Two food industry experts will discuss the whys and hows of building trust in Canada’s food system at the upcoming AGCare and OFAC (note: now Farm & Food Care) annual meeting and speakers’ program.

Stop defending and start winning

Charlie Arnot, head of the Centre for Food Integrity in the U.S., will provide hints and tips on how to change gears from protecting the status quo to building trust for modern Canadian agriculture in a morning session called “Stop Defending and Start Winning”.

In a separate keynote address in the afternoon, Arnot will talk about our complicated relationship with “big food” – why we love to hate the large food conglomerates that both dominate our store shelves and have the power to drive meaningful change.

Arnot is a thought-provoking leader who speaks internationally about food, farming and sustainability.

The Center for Food Integrity, based in Kansas City, is a not for profit organization focused on building consumer trust and confidence in the contemporary U.S. food system, with many state and national farm groups, agriculture and food industry members.

Making ready for the phantom menace

Retailers and food companies are a key target for special interest groups, such as environmentalists and animal activists who are opposed to many farm practices.

Companies are pressured to make changes to their business practices through a variety of methods, from polite and businesslike approaches to brand attacks and illegal and threatening actions.

These kinds of pressure campaigns are intended to force retailers to adopt the activists’ demands – and farmers are often not part of the decision-making process or discussion.

Consultant Paul Hodgman will be speaking about a new project now underway to build linkages between the food industry and farmers to bridge that gap between the realities on the farm and major food buying decisions.

What’s being done to ensure trust in food and farming here in Ontario?

You’ll also hear updates on several new initiatives happening right here at home. For example, a new charity was launched last fall: the Farm Care Foundation.

This new registered charity will focus on building public trust and confidence in food and farming, through provincial, regional and national agri-food awareness opportunities.

 

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