2021 Winner (15 – 21)

Conor T. Soule is 15 year old from Charlie Lake, BC. He is an unschooler that has always been encouraged to follow his passions for what he needs to learn in life! Currently those passions are for Mushrooms, Permaculture, Economics and Art. This summer Conor worked as a eco farm skills student at many different farms in my community. This only increased his passion for healing our planet. He am an entrepreneur at heart and has multiple permaculture project on the go which he hopes to share with his farming community.

Here is Conor’s winning entry:

Dear National Farmers Union,

You posed the question “How can young farmers help shape the post-covid agriculture system towards food sovereignty?” here are my thoughts.

Covid19 has caused society to start breaking down, with unemployment out of control, food and social instability, and large amounts of fear. It is in large part up to the homesteaders in small towns and big cities, to repair things and farmers will be at the center. Covid effects us all from unemployment, fear, uncertainty, and the loss of loved ones, looking forward is scary, especially for farmers. This year has been a horrible time to be a farmer. I worked at many farms this summer as a farm skills student and witnessed the damage. This may be a tough time, but farmers work harder than anyone else. Once they get through this their towns, cities, or homes will reach self sufficiency far more quickly.

Covid has and will continue to damage the economy this is especially true for young farmers. Failing economy will be the most difficult time in their lives, they will have to ban together. So, young farmers will start to put together groups. The groups will start out small, but they will grow. There will be a point where they start to grow much faster. We might be able to estimate an approximate time because progression is linear, but it all depends on when it all starts. Young farmers can and will make friends with other young farmers, that is just how life works, you find people with the same interests and connect. In hard times people can rely on there friends, these group will do the same thing on a larger scale. The exchange of information will never be the same as it was, not in this era of information. The information era will make farmers more connected, the groups, like everything, are going to have to have an online presence. This will allow them to be more efficient at spreading information. These groups will provide greater protection individually on a community basis, allowing for people to be far more, safe, self sufficient, and secure.

There will be groups that can’t get together because of geographical constraints, so the groups of farmers that already have an online presence will have gatherings of farmers from anywhere around the world. The gatherings will lead to a great amount of knowledge being shared between people around the globe. This could lead to a culture that has no geographical boundaries and that is much more adaptable and stronger. For the young farmers that are starting now or later there will be a culture of sharing and teamwork. This culture will allow young farmers to learn in new ways with relative ease. The online groups form because of a search for community and that can allow them to make a much more positive and meaningful connection. This culture will allow farmers to create new methods of farming that are more and more effective because of open communication and practice. With an interconnected web of farmers, food sovereignty and safety will be a lot easier to achieve on a community-by-community basis. The groups of young farmers that cannot get together due to geographical restraints will make online communities that will help and have extreme benefits for all the farmers involved.

As the general public recognizes the value of farmers and the problems they are dealing with, my hope is they will reach out to help. This will allow the other two processes that I have previously talked about to happen more smoothly with people who are seeking to help managing or putting groups together. Farming community that become self-sufficient and adaptable leading the farmers of a not so faraway future to be more than able to feed the fast-growing human civilisation. The help from the general public allows safe and secure foundations for a new generation of farmers. Farming culture for young farmers will allow much more stability.

How young farmers move forward in a post Covid economy and world will be with teamwork and connection. They will band together in online and in person groups, assisted by the people who are less effected by the damages Covid19 had to the economy, allowing young farmers to be much more stable progressing into the future. Farmers will repair the world of farming and by extension the rest of the world using communication teamwork and support.