SACKVILLE, N.B. – Sackville has seen the arrival of dozens of new farmers, as part of the Second Beginner Farmer Symposium, hosted by the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN).
The event promises to be the year’s most important for celebrating and educating the next generation of local organic farmers.
According to ACORN’s Grow a Farmer program website, the average farmer in Atlantic Canada is now approaching the age of retirement. This is consistent with trends across Canada, and indicates the need to cultivate and support new farmers who can keep the sector sustainable. As the farm landscape changes, new entrants to farming face a diversity of barriers and challenges – from access to land, to business plan development, to finding a niche in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
These are just some of the issues being addressed at this year’s symposium, with speakers from around and outside the region, representing farm, government and community sectors. According to event organizer Lucia Stephen: “the Symposium is one of the most important events a new farmer in Atlantic Canada can attend. Not just for the information that will be delivered by an excellent mix of both regional and guest farm experts, but also because it’s a rare and unique opportunity to connect with fellow young farmers.”
Through this event – which features a series of workshops, a seed exchange, a trade show, and a networking “Mixer” to follow the day’s festivities– ACORN hopes to make things just a little easier for the dozens of educated and capable young people looking to make a living from farming in the coming years.