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The mission of an organization called Growing North is to grow fresh food in the Arctic. They’ve created a specially-designed greenhouse that can withstand the colder climate and provide low cost, locally grown produce in Nunavut.35
Courtesy of Sask Mustard
Food choices and accessibility
In general, Canadians are lucky to have a wide choice when it comes to the kinds of
foods available to buy, and have the freedom and opportunity to support different types of farming or production systems. Regardless of the type of diet Canadians choose to follow, or the amounts of money they have available to spend on eating, there are farmers willing and able to grow food for them.
For some Canadians, though, the problem is one of accessibility and/or affordability. “Food deserts” are neighbourhoods where residents have little or no access to grocers and restaurants that provide healthy and affordable foods.34 In Northern Canada in particular, fresh food is scarce and the high cost of transporting food into the region makes many products, particularly healthy food choices, very expensive.
Mental health on the farm
As with any other job or business, farming can be stressful. The weather; pests and diseases affecting crops and livestock; being able to harvest a quality crop; managing employees; and keeping a farm business running successfully, can all put pressure on farmers. That’s why it’s important for farmers to take a break, recharge, and take care of themselves too – not just their land and livestock. Dairy farmers, for example, can often go days or months without a day off. On occasion, they will hire a person called a “relief milker” to milk and look after their cows, if they need to take a few days off, and if they don’t have other employees to help.
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Myrna Grahn
Food Freedom Day
In Canada, we mark Food Freedom Day in early February, this being the day that the average Canadian has earned enough income to pay his or her individual grocery bill for the whole year. Canadians on average spend only about $0.10 of every dollar on food.36 For comparison, the Portuguese spend 17.3 per cent of their income on food, the Russians
28 per cent, and Nigerians an astounding 56.4 per cent.37
Professional Home Economist Myrna Grahn is manager of the Farm and Food Discovery Centre (FFDC) at the University of Manitoba’s Glenlea Research Station and farm near Winnipeg.
Established in 2011, FFDC’s large exhibit space includes displays about grain, dairy, egg, chicken, beef and pork production from farm to fork. Curriculum-based school  eld trips for grades 3 – 11 cover topics like research, biosecurity, environment, food processing, and animal care, and let students cook their own tasty foods to sample.
“Through tours, displays and presentations, the centre helps connect students and the general public to where our food comes from,” says Myrna.
The Real Dirt on Farming 25
Myrna Grahn

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