Public Trust, as pertaining to agriculture, is the extent to which the public/consumers trust the value chains which produce their food and other agriculture products. With various avenues available to consumers to find out information, many companies, activists groups and self-proclaimed experts are telling a story about agriculture, but not necessarily the true story about agriculture in Nova Scotia.
Public trust has lessened for varying reasons. According to recent census data, the Nova Scotia population is continuing to out-migrate from rural regions of Nova Scotia to urbanized centres. This alludes to that not only are Nova Scotians further removed from agriculture by another generational degree, they are also becoming further distanced from rural life and understanding the socio-economic importance of agriculture and spin-off industries. The message of extreme activist organizations and corporate food chains has been on the rise and are misleading Nova Scotians about how their food is produced.
NSFA, farmers, and those who support farmers must take a lead on public trust initiatives. The formation of a national public trust steering committee is bringing together stakeholders across the sector including grocery chains, restaurants, farmers and more to develop a cohesive message about agriculture across all sectors. The recently announced National Food Policy has the potential to create an opportunity to educate Canadians on how food is produced in Canada, Codes of Conduct and regulations that determine production practices while gaining trust. Also, the addition of Public Trust Pillar in the Canadian Agriculture Partnership implies the issue’s importance on a national scale.
It shall be the policy of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture to advocate for a collaborative approach for Public Trust during the Canadian Agriculture Partnership negotiations and Public Trust Activities to be farmer driven. NSFA will also work with the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture on regular benchmarking of public perceptions of agriculture.