Farm and Food Care opens for business

Awareness, appreciation, information.

Collectively, these three words comprise the mandate of Farm and Food Care Ontario, which officially opened its doors this month in Guelph.

Farm and Food Care is the first coalition of its type in Canada, bringing together tens of thousands of livestock, crop and horticulture farmers and related businesses with a mandate to provide credible information on farming to Ontario’s public.

Crystal Mackay, executive director of the new organization, said, “Farm and Food Care will cultivate awareness and increase appreciation for agriculture by providing objective, credible information on food and how it’s grown right here in Ontario.”

She added the new structure will provide a clearer and more effective voice for public outreach and proactive communications, one stop shopping for information on food and farming.

The new group arises from the amalgamation of the Ontario Farm Animal Council (OFAC) and Agricultural Groups Concerned about Resources and the Environment (AGCare).

Both well-respected coalitions were also the first of their kind, formed in 1988 as non-profit, agricultural education coalitions representing Ontario’s livestock and crop farmers and associated organizations. They ceased operations on Dec. 31.

Building on the legacy of OFAC and AGCare, Farm and Food Care will focus on building public trust and confidence in food and farming through a variety of initiatives including public outreach and media relations, issues management, public speaking and training, resource development, and industry partnerships.

An interim 12-member board of directors has been elected from amongst the 2011 OFAC and AGCare boards to serve until Farm and Food Care’s inaugural annual meeting on April 17.

Two advisory councils will be formed in addition to the Board, with an emphasis on farm animal care and the environment. These councils will play a pivotal role with the new organization, providing a forum for proactive dialogue and direction with many stakeholders.

To learn more about Farm and Food Care Ontario or to support the new organization’s efforts, visit its newly launched website at