People who support, raise and grow food in the Yukon are an asset to this community.
Yukon is home to many individuals, families and communities dedicated to growing vegetables (whether in backyard gardens or fields) and raising animals with utmost respect and integrity.
In the article, Sustainable Farming’s Local Shepherd, written by Genesee Keevil (September 27th), I was quoted as saying, Yukon agriculture is “broken,”“not sustainable” and has been devastating for some.
These are strong words and, without context, are very disrespectful to anyone who grows and raises food for their household or for others.
Furthermore, the article said I was doing research on sustainable agriculture in the Yukon and I would disagree.
Let me explain …
First, in terms of a global context, yes, agriculture is broken.
Popular books like the Omnivore’s Dilemma or movies like Fast Food Nation offer a strong argument on how global food systems and big agriculture destroy the health of the planet and small, family farms.
On the contrary, Yukon farms are very sustainable, however not always economically viable.
Here is where farming can be devastating.
It takes a lot of money, effort and time to produce quality food off of a small farm or vegetable garden; one partner often keeps their day job.
Unfortunately, our everyday food choices are heavily influenced by a global food system that is supplied by large agricultural businesses.
Relying on “cheap” food imports that are shipped to the Yukon from thousands of miles away is not sustainable.
Local growers often cannot compete with the volume or low prices this model commands.
However, they can compete on quality - locally grown food has superior flavour, is picked fresh, handled with high safety standards, is loaded with nutrients and often grown free of chemicals and hormones (the Yukon supports a strong industry of certified organic growers and farmers).
With guidance and support from community partners as well as in-depth meetings with farmers and growers I am exploring opportunities to sustainably increase the amount of local foods available to people in the Yukon.
There is a lot of momentum building towards this.
Also, please note it is the Birdhouse Cafe, not the Bird Nest as cited in the article.