Young Agrarians (YA) is a farmer to farmer educational resource network for new and young ecological, organic and regenerative farmers in Canada. We recognize the Indigenous lands and territories that we work on and alongside, and are committed to providing programs that are inclusive and available to farmers and friends of diverse backgrounds. YA is volunteer-driven, with farmers across the country organizing on-farm events and building community to create spaces for knowledge sharing and growth. The network is made up of a diverse array of food growers and lovers including farmers, fishers, holistic managers, market gardeners, ranchers, seed savers, food activists, bee keepers, community gardeners, and food and farm organizations.
In 2012, we were excited by what new farmers groups like the The Greenhorns and the National Young Farmers Coalition were doing in the U.S.. We wanted to get something growing in Canada that provides on the ground programs for new and young people to grow food and farm. YA is a program of Agrarians Foundation (AF), whose mission is to educate the public by providing courses, seminars, workshops, and counselling about agriculture, farming, food processing, entrepreneurship, community economic development and environmental sustainability.
What is a Young Agrarian?
A new person into agriculture, rural or urban, who values food, farmers, ecology and community. Our core focus demographic is 20-40. If you are 3 or 83, please join us – we love agrarians of all ages.
What values guide us?
Agro-Ecology, Capacity Building, Collaboration, Community, Diversity, Equity, Food Sovereignty, Inclusion, Workers & Migrant Rights, Land-Access, Mentorship, Participatory Frameworks, Reconciliation, Support for Start-Ups
We believe that it is our collective responsibility to care for and respect the land that we live on and depend upon for water, food and shelter. All of us can do our part to nurture local, ecological and equitably produced food systems choosing with our dollars, values and hands to consume and steward foods that are healthy for us and future generations.
Why do we need a new generation of ecological land stewards to grow food?
- Canada’s farming population is shrinking, reaching a historic low in 2021. According to Statistics Canada, in 1931, one in three (33%) Canadians lived and worked on farms; that number is now 1.3%. (Current population of Canada is 38,365,690; the number of farmers in Canada in 2021 was 504,507 or 262,455 farm operators.)
- Stats Canada average age of Farmers in 2021 = 56. Only 8.6% of farmers are 35 and younger (22,635 farmers).
- It is hard to make farming viable. There is a $20,000 average yearly net loss for farmers in Canada, with 1 in every 2 farmers under 55 reporting that off farm employment is their main source of income.
- Land access is the #1 challenge for new farmers. The real estate value of farmland is at an all-time high – since 2007, farmland prices in Canada have increased by 132%.
- Land-use changes and fossil fuel burning are the two major sources of the increased CO2 in the atmosphere that is changing the global climate. Overall, land use and land-use changes account for some 31 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock now account for 50% of emissions from agriculture and land-use change.
Regenerating farmers is as important as regenerating the land.
The issues today in our food systems are complex. It will take many people and solutions to adapt to climate change. There is incredible urgency to ensure that we are using ecological practices to grow resilient and short supply chains for our communities that can adapt to climate change, sequester carbon, and regenerate ecosystems.
Help us grow the next generation of ecological farmers!