48th Annual Convention (2017)

We have lost more than a quarter of the farms across Canada and the average farmer age continue to climb. Many farmers are looking for ways to pass on their operations to a new generation of farmers. We have also lost, or are in danger of losing, many of the institutions that were and are vital to rural Canada. Renewal can mean many things but what the NFU will be exploring at this year's convention is how we can reimagine, restore and reinvigorate rural Canada.

Audio recordings of panel sessions and keynote speaker presentation are available for sale. Download, print and mail an order form with your cheque or order by email and pay via e-transfer.

The 48th annual National NFU Convention: Farm Renewal

was held November 23 to 25, 2017 at the Holiday Inn Ottawa East, 1199 Joseph Cyr Street, Ottawa

Convention Social Events:

Wednesday, November 22 — 7 to 9:30 pm NFU Brew: Hops, malt and you!
Get together with old friends and new while enjoying some local craft beer, specially bottled with a souvenir NFU label.
Friday, November 24 — 6:30 pm to midnight: Banquet and Dance with Jackson Miles playing!

Convention Program Highlights:

PUBLIC EVENT - Keynote Speaker Thursday, November 23, 7 to 9:30 PM - PUBLIC EVENT

Janine Wedel: New Influence Elites, the Corrosion of Democracy, and Trump as Trickster 

Over the past year much attention has belatedly focused on the white working class and "populist" movements far and wide. But what about the behavior of elites that allowed this discontent to simmer for decades until it boiled over? 
This talk by Janine R. Wedel will examine the latest scholarship, hers and others, to better understand how the activities of influence elites helped give Trump and similar figures his entrée. As both a public policy professor and a social anthropologist, she will also examine Trump’s role as “trickster,” how Trump and other taboo-breaking, system-busting leaders govern once in power, and why people turn to them.  
Janine Wedel is an award-winning author who writes about governance, corruption, influence elites, and accountability through the lens of an anthropologist. She is a professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, as well as a Global Policy Chair at the University of Bath, UK, and Fellow at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. She is the author of several prize-winning books, including Unaccountable: How the Establishment Corrupted Our Finances, Freedom, and Politics and Created an Outsider Class; Shadow Elite: How the World’s New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market; and Collision and Collusion: The Strange Case of Western Aid to Eastern Europe. She also published Political Rigging: A Primer on Political Capture and Influence in the 21st Century (2017, with Nazia Hussain and Dana A. Dolan); Confronting Corruption, Building Accountability (2010, with Lloyd J. Dumas); The Unplanned Society (1992); and The Private Poland (1986). 
A public intellectual, Wedel has frequently contributed analysis pieces to major news outlets, and her work has been reviewed or translated into more than a dozen languages. A five-time Fulbright fellow, she has also won the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order, as well as major awards from the National Science Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, New America Foundation, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Institute for New Economic Thinking, among others.  Wedel is co-founder and past president of the Association for the Anthropology of Policy (ASAP), a section of the American Anthropological Association. View Janine Wedel's presentation
Thank you to our keynote speaker public event co-sponsors: Syndicat Agricultural Union, Inter Pares, Council of Canadians and Public Service Alliance of Canada

Thursday, November 23

9:00 AM: WORKSHOP 1: Family Farms and the Next Generation: Succession Planning with Diana Gibson
Farmers were drawn into the recent debates on private corporation tax loopholes where there was little clear information on the implications for family farms. The government has left the door open to further consultation with farmers about farm succession. This workshop will be an opportunity to explore the current challenges and opportunities for family farm operation and succession, from debt loads to land trusts and research and development funding. There will be a presentation followed by a hands-on facilitated workshop.
Diana Gibson is a social scientist who grew up in a farming community in rural Alberta and has worked nationally and internationally on economic and public policy issues ranging from energy to health care and trade. She is a social commentator and researcher with over twenty years of experience and has been on faculty with Capilano College as well as the University of Alberta. Diana has authored and co-authored many publications on social and industrial policy alternatives in resource rich economies from the NWT to BC, Alberta and Newfoundland. She is a Principal with PolicyLink Research Canada, Communications staff for Canadians For Tax Fairness, as well as a Research Advisor for both the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the University of Alberta's Parkland Institute. View Diana Gibson's presentation
10:30 AM: WORKSHOP 2: - Convention 101: Democracy and How We Make Policy in the NFU with Cory Ollikka and Karen Pedersen
This workshop will provide you with a democratic toolkit that you will help you get more mileage out of your Convention experience. Cory and Karen will instill an appreciation for and understanding of parliamentary procedure as a necessary and fundamental democratic tool, and will help you develop your skills and confidence so you can actively participate at NFU Convention. Their workshop will also look specifically at the use of parliamentary procedure at NFU Conventions. They will highlight the roles and responsibilities of the Resolution Committee, Steering Committee, the Nominations Committee, and the Chair as well as the members, visitors and delegates. This workshop will be very useful if this is your first Convention, or if you have questions about how decision-making works in the organization. View Cory and Karen's presentation
Cory Ollikka is a 4th generation farmer from Waskatenau, Alberta. He operates an organic grain and beef cattle farm as well as holding an off-farm job in Municipal Government. Cory has held numerous positions at the District, Regional and National levels of the NFU since 1986 and was the NFU's 7th National President from 1998-2001. He has helped chair several NFU conventions.
Karen Pedersen is a 5th generation beekeeper who farms at Cut Knife, SK with her parents. She is a past NFU Womens President and past NFU Youth President. Before settling in Cut Knife, Karen worked on farms in the United States, Denmark, Grenada and New Zealand.
Thursday afternoon: PANEL 1– Restoring resilience, regenerating the farm 
Speakers: Sarah Rotz, Anna Korzenszky, Meghan Entz 
Sarah Rotz is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Geography Department at the University of Guelph where she studies the political ecology of food systems. Her passion for climate justice and interest in the political ecology of climate change vulnerability and governance, along with love of gardening, food, ecology, and political economy, drives Sarah to study how different food systems can mitigate and/or reproduce social and environmental injustice. Thus, her PhD research examined industrial and alternative food systems. Her research has been published in Geoforum, Captalism, Nature, Socialism, and the Journal of Peasant Studies as well as in popular media and blog sites. Sarah holds a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. View Sarah Rotz's presentation
Anna Korzenszky is from Hungary. She is exploring mechanisms for farm succession outside of the family as a possible contribution to the generational renewal of small scale farming and agrarian culture. In addition to her sociology studies at the University of Vienna, she has been active with the Nyeleni Europe Movement for Food Sovereignty and is a member of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization team in Rome that facilitates relationships between the FAO and civil society organizations. View Anna Korzenszky's presentation
Meghan Entz grew up in a Manitoba family involved in agriculture, where she was inspired to focus her studies on the issues facing food producers in Canada and around the world. Since graduating, Meghan has worked as a consultant with the Canadian Foodgrain’s Bank, and as a Research Assistant under Dr. Annette Desmarais, Canada Research Chair in Human Rights, Social Justice and Food Sovereignty. She was involved in an analysis of students’ food insecurity at the University of Manitoba and studied the NFU’s involvement in protesting the closure of the Federal Prison Farms. Recently she has been working on a project about the challenges and motivations of young farmers in Manitoba, Ontario and abroad. She is a Master’s student at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. View Meghan Entz's presentation

Friday, November 24:

Friday morning: PANEL 2 - Renewing our Relationship to the Land
Speakers: Christopher Kelly-Bisson, Sally Miller, Danielle Boissoneau
Christopher Kelly-Bisson is documenting the farmland consolidation by financial entities in eastern Ontario to determine the economic and political determinants of that result in this consolidation. He is a PhD candidate in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa and is the lead researcher on the farmland preservation policy stream for the Farming and Farmland Network of Sustain Ontario. As a member of the Ottawa Food Policy Council, he advocates for strengthened farmland protection bylaws. Christopher is an experienced horticulturalist and permaculture design consultant who started farming ten years ago as a field hand for an ornamental perennial farm and later operated an organic market-garden operation for five years. View Christopher Kelly-Bisson's presentation
Sally Miller is currently the Ontario Local Food and Farm Co-ops Network Project Manager and a member of the Ontario Co-operative Association board. She has worked on many sustainable food and agriculture co-ops over the past 25 years, including the Ontario Natural Food Co-op and Organic Meadow in Canada, and Greenstar and Finger Lakes Organic Growers’ Co-op in the USA. From 2015-2017 Sally was the Research Coordinator for the City Region Food Systems Toronto Project, part of an international research project looking at urban/rural food systems. She is the author of Edible Action: Food Activism and Alternative Economics and Belongings: The Fight for Land and Food, as well as numerous research reports. View Sally Miller's presentation
Danielle Boissoneau is Anishnaabe kwe from the shorelines of the Great Lakes. She is a writer, a seed saver, a gardener, and works towards food sovereignty for her people through education and action. Her work might see her on the frontlines of resistance to tarsands expansion projects or she might also be found showing children how to care for gardens. Her dedication to the resurgence and revitalization of Anishnaabek food systems is rooted in her love for her people, the land and the water. Danielle has written for publications such as Briarpatch Magazine, GUTS Magazine and the Dominion, as well as being a contributing writer for the Two Row Times, a newspaper out of Six Nations, Ontario. She also works for the Hamilton Community Food Centre as the Community Action Coordinator. Here, she helps to empower community members to reclaim their food systems and their communities through a variety of means and projects. Danielle is from the Old Turtle Clan. 
Friday afternoon: PANEL 3 – Generating Farmer Power

Saturday, November 25:

Saturday morning: PANEL 4 – NAFTA 2.0: Questions of Power and Democracy
Speakers: Haroon Akram-Lodhi, Gus Van Harten, Chris Holman
Dr. A Haroon Akram-Lodhi is an economist who focuses on the political economy of agrarian change in developing countries, the economic dimensions of gender relations, and the political ecology of sustainable rural livelihoods and communities in contemporary poor countries. He teaches at Trent University on global human inequality, the future of smallholder peasant communities in the world food system, the sustainability of rural social structures, relations, institutions and communities, and gender and economic policy. He edits two academic journals and has been appointed to prestigious roles in his field at universities in Canada, the USA, Mexico and at the United Nations. His most recent book is Hungry for Change: Farmers, Food Justice and the Agrarian Question. It explains how the creation, structure and operation of the world food system is marginalizing family farmers, small-scale peasant farmers and landless workers as it entrenches us all in a global subsistence crisis and how building upon the concerns of food sovereignty can solve the current crisis. View Haroon Akram-Lodhi's presentation
Gus Van Harten is a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto. Previously he was a faculty member in the Law Department of the London School of Economics. He specializes in Canadian administrative law and international investment law. His books include Investment Treaty Arbitration and Public Law; Sovereign Choices and Sovereign Constraints: Judicial Restraint in Investment Treaty Arbitration; and Sold Down the Yangtze: Canada's Lopsided Investment Deal with China. His academic articles are freely available on SSRN. View Gus Van Harten's presentation
Chris Holman and his partner Maria Davis own and operate Nami Moon Farms outside of Stevens Point, WI. The 41-acre farm focuses on pasture-raised poultry and hogs, perennial and annual fruits and vegetables, chicken and duck eggs, and small grains for feed components. Chris and Maria are lifetime members of the Wisconsin Farmers Union, and Chris currently serves on the state board. He also serves on the National Farmers Union (US) board as the representative for next generation issues. As a veteran, Chris has worked closely with the Farmer Veteran Coalition and he also served on USDA’s Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. Maria works full-time off of the farm for WorldBuilders, a non-profit that raises millions of dollars each year for Heifer International. Chris has a M.A. in Geography from the University of Oregon. He taught Arabic and Middle Eastern Geography for 15 years before quitting his academic career to farm full-time. View Chris Holman's presentation
Saturday afternoon: PANEL 5 – Cultivating Communities
Speakers: Barbara Schaefer, Arzeena Hamir, and Gary Kenny.
Barbara Schaefer made a dramatic change in her life in 2007. After 18 years working on environmental protection, policy and program development and education through the University of Toronto, the Green Party, environmental organizations and government, she became a farmer. She began raising Large Black Pigs, a rare breed, and has increased the herd to over 300 pigs for meat and breeding. In early 2016, when Rideau Meats of Smiths Falls closed, access to a slaughterhouse became a serious concern for the future livestock farmers in her community. Responding to this crisis, Schaefer has spent the last two years establishing Farmersville Community Abattoir, a not-for-profit slaughterhouse located near Athens, Ontario. View Barbara Schaefer's presentation
Arzeena Hamir is a farmer and agronomist from the Comox Valley, BC who has a Bachelor’s degree in Crop Science (U of Guelph) and a Master’s in Sustainable Agriculture (U of London, England). Arzeena worked abroad for many years as a CUSO volunteer in Thailand and as a researcher in Jamaica, India, and Bangladesh. She was the staff agrologist for West Coast Seeds in the late ’90s and ran her own seed company, Terra Viva Organics. From 2008-2012 Arzeena was the Coordinator of the Richmond Food Security Society where she oversaw a number of community projects which included a proposal to the City of Richmond to declare itself a GMO-free Zone. In 2015, Arzeena was one of the founding members of Merville Organics Growers Cooperative, a marketing co-operative based in the Comox Valley. Merville Organics operates a 120-share CSA and sells through 3 farmers markets. View Arzeena Hamir's presentation
Gary Kenny is president of Grey County NFU Local 344, an organic farmer and home gardener. A writer, editor and conservationist, he has a passion for conserving and enhancing on-farm biodiversity as a complement to sustainable farming. Gary also has a background in educational publishing. For 27 years he worked with Canadian churches on various social justice files specific to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa doing human rights research and reporting on countries in conflict for purposes of advocacy with the Government of Canada and former United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and to support organizations that work with small-scale farmers to adopt agro-ecological and food sovereignty approaches to their farming practices. Gary also maintains a commitment to help realize meaningful reconciliation and right relations with Indigenous peoples. View Gary Kenny's presentation







Anna_Korzenszky.jpg49.08 KB
Danielle Boisonneau.jpg13.1 KB
Gus Van Harten.jpg27.46 KB
Haroon 5.jpg14.54 KB
JANINE Wedel.jpg24.45 KB
Meghan Entz.jpg52.29 KB
Chris Holman.jpg37.3 KB
NFU National Convention Sponsors 2017.jpg259.01 KB
Christopher Kelly-Bisson.jpg68.58 KB
Sarah_Rotz-photo.jpg62.14 KB
Diana_Gibson.jpg28.78 KB
Sally_Miller.jpg96.68 KB
Barb Schaefer-web.jpg37.76 KB
Arzeena Hamir.jpg7.01 KB
Gary_Kenny.jpg9.41 KB
Diana Gibson.pdf500.9 KB
Interactive session.pdf144.69 KB
Barbara.pdf1.67 MB
WEDEL - NFU - Canada - 23Nov2017 - FINAL-FINAL PPT.pdf2.42 MB
Miller NFU 2017 v.3.pdf2.43 MB
Arzeena.pdf1.69 MB
AnnaKorzenszky_Extrafamilal Farm Succession_NFU, Canada, 2017.pdf1.3 MB
Gary Kenny.PPP_.Indigenous.pdf771.22 KB
Chris Holman.pdf470.39 KB
Haroon.pdf541.62 KB
NFU Process Democracy.pdf998.83 KB
Chris Kelly Bisson.pdf217.25 KB
Gus.pdf1.99 MB
Arzeena competition to cooperation.pdf1.69 MB
Order form - NFU Convention 2017 Audio.doc40 KB
Sarah Rotz.pdf1.44 MB
Becoming a Young Farmer - Meghan Entz.pdf1.33 MB