A weekend with the NFU youth

Posted by Alex Fletcher on June 14, 2014

By Dan Kretschmar.

Spending four days at the NFU youth gathering in beautiful Nanoose Bay, Vancouver Island has cemented in my mind that returning to the farm was the right decision for me to make. It is difficult to find words to express my amazement at the brilliance of each one of the NFU youth from all over Canada. I truly feel that there is hope for the future, and I am honoured to be involved with such an inspirational group of people.

We had the opportunity to join the Young Agrarians Vancouver Island spring mixer for a day while we were there. The presence of farmers on Vancouver Island alone was a testament to the changing times. On the island, people are starting to grow food again. There were between 70-80 young farmers who were spending the weekend eating local food and drink, taking part in a variety of farming related workshops, and spending time getting to know each other and networking. The NFU youth had the opportunity to speak at the event. We were met with a great reception and made the NFU and its vision known to an enthusiastic group of people.

When it was our core NFU youth group together, our discussions ranged from the wheat board, CETA, Bill C-18, migrant workers, the NFU youth video project and more. Most alarming to us all is UPOV ‘91 and how it essentially strips our birthright of many generations to save seeds, grow our own food and feed communities. We will not stand for losing over 10,000 years of historical precedent. Seeds are not just inputs for farmers; they are the key to the history of the development of our entire civilization. It was apparent that all of us would keep doing what farmers have always done and save our seeds.

Our time together was too short but we made lasting connections and allies from across the country. Working together, we will be an unstoppable force, and I get the feeling that we will win many of the battles we are currently facing. 

Dan Kretschmar farms at Grenville Farm in Muskoka Ontario.  He is the NFU Youth Advisor for Region 3 (Ontario).  For more perspectives about the NFU Youth Retreat and the Young Agrarians Vancouver Island Mixer (and more photos) check out these blog posts:

-Learning, Networking, Growing, by Moss Dance, YA Island Mixer Coordinator and farmer: http://youngagrarians.org/vancouver-island-mixer-2014-learning-networking-growing/

-In Union, by Shannon Jones, NFU Youth member and Nova Scotia farmer: http://broadforkfarm.com/2014/03/27/in-union/

Photo Notes: At top-- NFU Youth retreat 2014 participants in Nanoose Bay demonstrating their farmer-flannel pride (from left to right, kneeling: Dean Harder-Manitoba, Ayla Fenton-Ontario, Virginie Lavallee-Picard-BC, Shannon Jones-Nova Scotia, Lisa Lundgard-Alberta, lying down: Alex Fletcher-BC, standing: Mike Kozlowski-Alberta, Graham Goff-Saskatchewan, Blake Hall-Alberta, Dan Kretschmar-Ontario, Jennie Greven-Ontario, Seann Dory-BC, Dana Penrice-Alberta, Ted Chastko-Alberta, Sara Dent- BC.  Second photo-- Young Agrarians Vancouver Island Mixer particpants. Last photo--NFU Youth retreat discussions, photo by Shannon Jones-Broadfork Farm.