Provincial and municipal leaders gathered at Winnipeg’s City Hall July 30 to raise a flag honouring the United Nations declaration of 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming.
Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn joined Brian Mayes, city councillor for St. Vital, to highlight the significance of family farming on a global scale. This declaration was made to increase awareness on the importance of family farming in addressing world issues such as poverty, food security and protecting the environment.
“We are proud to stand with the City of Winnipeg, that recognizes the important role that family-run farms play in creating healthy, sustainable food sources here in Manitoba, but also in the rural areas of developing countries,” said Minister Kostyshyn. “But it’s more than that, as family-run farms provide good jobs that add value to the provincial economy.”
Kostyshyn also noted that raising the flag in downtown Winnipeg recognizes one of the fastest-growing farm sectors in the world: urban agriculture.
“Urban farming is growing across Manitoba and that matches with our goal of ensuring that people get fresh food closer to home,” he added.
Councillor Mayes, who has supported family-run farms in his ward for many years, also noted that he and a number of his city council colleagues have family farms in their respective wards.
“Family farms have always been a part of the fabric of our city,” he said. “Family farms are particularly important in my ward south of the perimeter. From the Roland and Janine Pfitzner farm on Hallama Drive in my St. Vital ward straight to Portage and Main, where Winnipeg’s own Richardson family continues to be a global agribusiness leader, Winnipeg’s success has always depended on the families committed to sustainable agriculture.”
The Manitoba government recently established a new group to consult with small-scale food processors, direct-farm marketers, farmers and others to support getting more safe and local food to market, while city council recently voted for the administration to produce a secondary plan for lands zoned as agricultural within the city limits (both inside and outside the Perimeter) to ensure the interests of the agricultural community are considered as the city continues to grow.
There are four key objectives of the International Year of Family Farming:
- Support the development of policies conducive to sustainable family farming;
- Increase knowledge, communication and public awareness;
- Attain better understanding of family farming needs; and
- Create synergies for sustainability.
More information about the International Year of Family Farming can be found on the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations website.