Why should I be an associate member of the National Farmers Union if I'm not a farmer?
The safety of the food on your table depends largely on the conditions under which it is grown. Producing healthy, high quality food requires that farmers are able to work under just conditions without the economic necessity of sacrificing food quality and safety in order to maximize production. Low prices force us to choose between dangerous shortcuts and losing our livelihood.
Government policies (such as NAFTA) which promote increased global trade in food and the downward ratcheting of safety standards undermine our ability to ensure safe food for Canadian consumers.
We respect public skepticism about Genetically Modified foods, and join with consumers to demand thorough testing, regulation and inspection.
The National Farmers Union continues to work for fair trading policies, greater domestic food self-sufficiency, high safety standards, and full regulatory accountability to the public.
Urban and rural communities alike depend on the environment and must take joint responsibility for how it is treated. For example, the use of pesticides can affect water quality in both city and country. Continuing degradation of the soil contributes to urban air pollution.
Progressive, environmentally-conscious farming people are troubled by these environmental problems. But current agriculture policy and the kind of economics it promotes make it very difficult for many of us to change our farming practices.
Farmers need fair prices for the food we produce so that we are not forced to 'mine our soil' just to remain viable.
We must have public policy which fosters farming practices that lead to long term environmental and financial sustainability.
Society is enhanced by a balance between larger, more industrialized urban centres and stable, vibrant rural communities. Stemming the current rural depopulation and the dispossession of farm families (which is contributing to urban unemployment) requires renewed commitment to, and investment in, rural communities. The accelerating drain of wealth and people from the countryside is neither just nor sustainable. All Canadians need to work together on social and economic strategies to achieve a just and healthy balance between rural and urban communities.
An associate membership gives you:
- a voice in shaping agricultural and social policy (Associate members can participate fully in all NFU activity except for serving as voting delegates and/or elected officials);
- an NFU Associate membership card;
- invitations to NFU activities and meetings, including the annual National Convention;
- a subscription to the Union Farmer monthly newsletter – an important source of information and analysis of food and farm issues;
- a subscription to the Union Farmer Quarterly magazine – an in-depth publication that examines timely food and agriculture topics;
- an effective, practical way of showing solidarity with progressive farmers in Canada.
Who is the NFU?
The National Farmers Union is the only voluntary national farm organization in Canada which is committed to:
- ensuring family farms are the primary unit of food production;
- promoting environmentally-safe farming practices;
- giving farm women equal voice in shaping farm policy;
- working for fair food prices for both farmers and consumers;
- involving, educating and empowering rural youth for a better future;
- building healthy, vibrant rural communities;
- ensuring an adequate supply of safe, nutritious food for Canadians.
The family farm is the cornerstone of the system that provides safe, nutritious food to Canadians. City people, as well as farmers, have a stake in it. The National Farmers Union is unique among farm organization in working for people's interests against corporate control of our food system.
The National Farmers Union:
- promotes fair trade policies for the benefit of farmers and consumers, rather than multinational agribusiness;
- works for fair taxation policies;
- supports public investment in, and control of, transportation and agricultural research for the benefit of all;
- supports the orderly marketing of food for the mutual well being of food producers and consumers.
- took a leading role in getting the ban on Bovine Growth Hormone in Canada.
Progressive farm movements have been at the forefront of the struggles for social and political justice in the past including the fight for Medicare in Saskatchewan (and eventually all of Canada), better publicly-funded education and social services, and equality for women (e.g. farm union women led the campaign for the vote and later Matrimonial Property Acts).
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What is the NFU?
The National Farmers Union is a direct-membership voluntary organization made up of Canadian farm families who share common goals. It is the only farm organization incorporated through an Act of Parliament.
NFU members believe that the problems facing farmers are common problems, and that farmers producing diverse products must work together to advance effective solutions. The NFU works toward the development of economic and social policies that will maintain the family farm as the primary food-producing unit in Canada.