Farmers, farm workers, and supporters will be gathering on Parliament Hill on Wednesday, November 22nd starting at 2 p.m. to demand that the federal government protect Canada’s food sovereignty and impose a ban on investor ownership of farmland.
According to the National Farmers Union (NFU), which is organizing the protest, "young farmers and farm workers will lead a farmland access visioning activity where participants will create squares to form a collective quilt, share seeds, create an art piece, and spread messages of resistance and solidarity.”
Recent reporting shows that 40 per cent of Canadian farm operators plan to retire over the next decade. The majority don’t have a succession plan.
By 2033, says the NFU, a shortfall of 24,000 general farm, nursery and greenhouse workers is expected to emerge.
"Young farmers and Indigenous land stewards cannot grow, harvest, and produce food without secure land access," it states. “Black, Indigenous, and Farmers of Colour are particularly disadvantaged by generations of discriminatory and colonial policies that continue to dispossess them of land."
In Saskatchewan alone, large investors and absentee landlords have purchased a million acres of farmland in the last 20 years. According to the NFU, these purchases have driven up the cost of farmland by an average of 16 per cent annually. Average values for cultivated farmland in Ontario increased by 19.4 per cent in 2022.
"Under these conditions, farmers cannot afford to farm," says the NFU, and goes on to state it is calling on the federal government to stop allowing “predatory investment firms” to gamble with Canada’s food system.