Agrarians Foundation ‘doing business as’ Young Agrarians (YA), has been working for the past decade to grow the next generation of ecological, organic and regenerative farmers in Canada. Since 2015, YA has worked with Organic Alberta to grow programs that support the community building, knowledge transfer, skills development, and hands on competencies of new and young people starting up into farming. Across Western Canada from B.C. to Manitoba, YA delivers five main programs:
1) Aggregate resources and opportunities online;
2) Build community and peer networks for knowledge transfer through educational and networking events on and off farms and through e-learning;
3) Facilitate business mentorships;
4) Coordinate on-farm apprenticeships in regenerative agriculture; and,
5) Provide land matching and land access supports.
YA works mainly with young adults ages 20-40 and is open to all ages! We employ a theory of change on how to grow new and young farmers, since approximately two-thirds of people starting into farming today do not come from farming backgrounds and often, have limited access to resources. The top barriers for new people wanting to farm today are access to land, capital and knowledge. As farmers age nationally (56+ on average), and land gets more expensive, less and less people are able to farm. Only 1.7% of Canadians farm as per the 2016 Census of Agriculture, and of that less than 10% are 35 and younger. In order to grow future, resilient, and ecological food systems, we need new and young people to be able to access land and resources, and be able to generate a viable living, survive start-up, and provide localized food for their communities. YA programs are free or by contribution, and work to engage a diverse array of equity-seeking participants.