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Young Farmers hoping to grow in Labrador

A workshop on farming held by Young Farmers saw 10 people in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay area attend to learn more about one of the world’s oldest professions.
A workshop on farming held by Young Farmers saw 10 people in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay area attend to learn more about one of the world’s oldest professions.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture hosted a workshop in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on March 21 and they were excited by the numbers they attracted.

The workshop, which was a Young Farmers forum, was titled ‘Exploring the Small Farm Dream.’ Ten people attended the workshop, more than the same workshop had in Gander earlier this year.
“We didn’t have a huge number but we were really pleased with how many attended,” said Matthew Carlson, Young Farmers Co-ordinator.
“There seems to be a fair bit of interest. I don’t want to speculate too much but it might have to do with the food security situation in Labrador. As much as people complain on the island portion of the province, there’s even less access to fresh fruits, vegetables and meat products here.”
The workshop, which was made possible by funding from Growing Forward 2, was facilitated by a researcher from Dalhousie University who spoke on the challenges and opportunities in the industry.
In addition there was an exercise with a local farmer talking about the industry in the area. Carlson said while Newfoundland and Labrador may not be an area traditionally associated with farming the opportunities are there.
“With the provincial government talking a lot about diversification they’ve certainly recognized this is an area for growth, it’s a steady industry that’s not going away at any point if we’re all going to survive,” he said. “We all have to eat. I think people are recognizing it more and more.”
He said the industry has modernized a lot and one thing they are trying to let people know is how much it has changed.
Technology is much more widespread in farming than in the past, which Carlson said may help draw more young people in.

“We’ve been doing a lot of workshops and events, trying to promote young people in agriculture throughout the province, getting more young people involved and looking at this industry as somewhere they might have their career,” he said. “Technology in the industry has come a long way and people need to know that.”
The participants in the workshop got a workbook that would help them assess the opportunities and constraints in the industry. He said while there are a lot of potential rewards there are a lot of risks as well.
Young Farmers offers resources guiding interested parties in how to move forward if they desire. They can offer advice on how to get land and guide them in the right direction for setting up a business plan. Carlson said they are currently hoping to get funding for a New Farmer guide.
“The plan right now is to have it as a paper and digital guide,” he said. “So if someone wants to start up a farm it basically takes them through the steps on how to do that. It would also offer advice on how to overcome hurdles and how to approach that. Right now, we can help less formally but hopefully that comes together in the near future.”
Carlson said if people have questions about such things as what land is available in the Lake Melville region there is a representative from Forestry and Agrifoods Agency that can assist locally.
For more information on Young Farmers visit http://www.nlyoungfarmers.ca.

Evan.careen@tc.tc
The Labradorian

The workshop, which was a Young Farmers forum, was titled ‘Exploring the Small Farm Dream.’ Ten people attended the workshop, more than the same workshop had in Gander earlier this year.
“We didn’t have a huge number but we were really pleased with how many attended,” said Matthew Carlson, Young Farmers Co-ordinator.
“There seems to be a fair bit of interest. I don’t want to speculate too much but it might have to do with the food security situation in Labrador. As much as people complain on the island portion of the province, there’s even less access to fresh fruits, vegetables and meat products here.”
The workshop, which was made possible by funding from Growing Forward 2, was facilitated by a researcher from Dalhousie University who spoke on the challenges and opportunities in the industry.
In addition there was an exercise with a local farmer talking about the industry in the area. Carlson said while Newfoundland and Labrador may not be an area traditionally associated with farming the opportunities are there.
“With the provincial government talking a lot about diversification they’ve certainly recognized this is an area for growth, it’s a steady industry that’s not going away at any point if we’re all going to survive,” he said. “We all have to eat. I think people are recognizing it more and more.”
He said the industry has modernized a lot and one thing they are trying to let people know is how much it has changed.
Technology is much more widespread in farming than in the past, which Carlson said may help draw more young people in.

“We’ve been doing a lot of workshops and events, trying to promote young people in agriculture throughout the province, getting more young people involved and looking at this industry as somewhere they might have their career,” he said. “Technology in the industry has come a long way and people need to know that.”
The participants in the workshop got a workbook that would help them assess the opportunities and constraints in the industry. He said while there are a lot of potential rewards there are a lot of risks as well.
Young Farmers offers resources guiding interested parties in how to move forward if they desire. They can offer advice on how to get land and guide them in the right direction for setting up a business plan. Carlson said they are currently hoping to get funding for a New Farmer guide.
“The plan right now is to have it as a paper and digital guide,” he said. “So if someone wants to start up a farm it basically takes them through the steps on how to do that. It would also offer advice on how to overcome hurdles and how to approach that. Right now, we can help less formally but hopefully that comes together in the near future.”
Carlson said if people have questions about such things as what land is available in the Lake Melville region there is a representative from Forestry and Agrifoods Agency that can assist locally.
For more information on Young Farmers visit http://www.nlyoungfarmers.ca.

Evan.careen@tc.tc
The Labradorian

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