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 and services that are inclusive and available to farmers and friends of diverse backgrounds. Since 2012, our network is volunteer-driven, with farmers across the country organizing on-farm events and building community to create spaces for knowledge sharing and growth.
We believe that it is our responsibility to care for and respect the land that we live on and depend upon for water, food and shelter. In a time of climate change, all of us must 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.
What guides 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
What is a Young Agrarian?
A new entrant into agriculture rural and urban who values food, farmers, nature and community. Our core focus demographic is 20-40. Yes – if you are 3 or 83, please join us – we love agrarians of all ages.
The network is made up of a diverse array of food growers and lovers, farmers, market gardeners, seed savers, food activists, bee keepers, community gardeners, food and farm organizations- working to steward land and soil and grow our local food resilience.
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 2011. According to Statistics Canada figures while one in three (33%) Canadians used to live on a farm in 1931, that number has plummeted to one in 46, or less than 2% of the total population. Population of Canada 33,739,900; the number of farmers in Canada is 684,260 or 327,055 farm operators.
- Stats Canada average age of Farmers in 2016 = 55, and only 9% of farmers are 35 and younger (24,850 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.
Why does Young Agrarians do?
YA is community building and resource sharing network for farmer2farmer knowledge transfer.
In B.C., YA offers an on and off-farm educational events, business mentorships, and land access programming. Events range from farm tours and potlucks to one to two day mixers, small-scale farming workshops and more. We are currently offering a Business Mentorship program that pairs up new farms in start-up with experienced mentors, and are delivering the B.C. Land Matching Program adapted from Quebec’s ARTERRE.
PRAIRIES: In collaboration with Organic Alberta, Young Agrarians is hosting an on-going EVENT SERIES (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba), and an APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM providing on-farm training and education.
ONLINE: YA aggregates resources for the ecological farm sector across Canada (UMAP), posts opportunities and content on our farmer blog, and works to engage an inspiring network of new and young farmers and food lovers. Our social media channels are buzzing- join the conversation @youngagrarians. Visit our TOOLS section to find: business resources, job and apprenticeship opportunities, prospective land to farm, and downloadable tools (B.C. and Ontario Land Access Guides, Lease and License templates).
Help us build the network! Are you doing great stuff in your community already around local food and farming and want to collaborate? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help us grow the next generation of farmers in Canada!
As of April 1, 2019- 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.
Young Agrarians began in B.C. as a program of FarmFolk CityFolk (FFCF) January 2012 to March 2019. FFCF is a registered Canadian Charity that works to cultivate a local, sustainable food system. Since 1993, FFCF has been supporting community-based food systems by engaging in public education with farm and city folks; actively organizing and advocating around local, timely issues; building alliances with other organizations; and harnessing the energy of volunteers. Thank you to FFCF for incubating YA!
Young Agrarians in Alberta is a program of Organic Alberta. Organic Alberta is a membership driven non-profit association that represents organics in Alberta. Organic Alberta works to strengthen the organic community through leadership, networking, education, communication and advocacy. Organic Alberta is a collaboration of all stakeholders – from consumers to producers and all those in between. Some of Organic Alberta’s current projects include: Young Agrarians, the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative, the Bauta Seed Security Initiative, and the annual Organic Alberta conference.