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Canada: The future of farming is female

Lisa Lundgard driving a tractor and tilling the soil on The Homestead, a small-scale farm in Goodfare, Alta.

Perhaps the biggest barrier facing women today is the rising cost of farmland. Over the past 10 years, the average value of farmland in Alberta has gone up annually between 4.4 per cent and 17.4 per cent.

By Trina Moyles
Globe And Mail
March 8, 2018


But women such as Cathryn Sprague, a 29-year-old farmer in Edmonton, aren’t letting the issue of land stop them from growing food. Several years ago, Ms. Sprague and her business partner, Ryan Mason, launched Reclaim Farm, one of the first urban-farming operations in Edmonton. Ms. Sprague set her sights on idle urban land plots. She asked owners for permission to repurpose the land to grow vegetables, often in exchange for providing them with weekly supplies of fresh produce.

“Our name ‘Reclaim’ has a lot of meanings,” Ms. Sprague says. “Instead of looking at the city as a series of private properties, we are looking at vacant spaces as places where we can grow food for the people who live nearby.” Several years ago, she stood up at a city council meeting in Edmonton to urge councillors to change city bylaws to make urban agriculture an official land-use activity. Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the bylaw change. “I’ve always been interested in how we can work to solve issues of hunger and food insecurity,” she says.

Many of the Canadian women whom I met were motivated to enact political and social change. Through their work on the land, sowing seeds, weeding, harvesting, and tending to livestock, I witnessed women striving for positive change in local and global food systems.

Read the complete article here.


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