by KAREN BRIGGS
A new organization that merges AGCare (Agricultural Groups Concerned about Resources and the Environment) and the Ontario Farm Animal Council (OFAC) will bear the name Farm and Food Care – Ontario as the result of a province-wide contest.
The Guelph-based group, which is the first coalition in Canada to bring crop and livestock sectors together for a common purpose, will open its doors in January, 2012. Its parent organizations held a naming contest and Susan Litwin’s proposed name was selected from 127 entries submitted from across Canada and the United States. Litwin, of Highgate in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, will receive $500.
Farm and Food Care – Ontario intends to provide a united front on awareness, appreciation and information on farming and food in Ontario.
“The environment was one of the common threads between AGCare and OFAC, and there was also some overlap in the membership because many livestock producers are also crop farmers,” says Bruce Christie, chair of the newly minted Farm Care Foundation. The two former organizations shared office space for the past four or five years, as well as some staff, so it seemed the time was right for amalgamation.
“There’s no question the process has required some compromise, but it’s being done with a great degree of transparency and a good balance between the livestock and crop sectors,” he says.
The new organization will have charitable status, and its mandate includes funding the type of activities previously conducted by OFAC and AGCare – “especially educational initiatives and public outreach,” Christie says.
Farm and Food Care – Ontario will benefit almost immediately from a $100,000 commitment from Wallenstein Feed and Supply Ltd. to the Farm Care Foundation, to further outreach efforts on food and farming.
Wallenstein Feed and Supply Ltd. has been a long-time supporter of Farm and Food Care – Ontario’s predecessor, OFAC, with past sponsorship totalling $90,000. The company’s contributions have helped to fund initiatives such as FarmzOnWheelz and the Real Dirt on Farming booklet, and will continue to do so under the new banner, with support from the Farm Care Foundation. BF