Growing Nova Scotia Together
On May 18th, we hosted our first Ministerial Roundtable on Agriculture, and presented “Growing Nova Scotia Together”, a report developed to outline the current challenges, opportunities, and solutions for a prosperous agriculture industry in Nova Scotia. We were pleased to be joined by industry leaders from 14 commodity organizations across Nova Scotia, together we highlighted the vital role that farming plays in the health of Nova Scotians and the viability of our rural communities.
Thank you to Honourable Greg Morrow, Minister of Agriculture, who co-chaired the Roundtable, as well as the following Ministers who participated:
Honourable Susan Corkum-Greek, Minister of Economic Development
Honourable Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills, and Immigration
Honourable John Lohr, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Honourable Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables
Over the course of the afternoon, many topics stemming from the presentation of the ‘Growing Nova Scotia Together’ report were brought to the table for constructive dialogue between industry and government. The Ministerial Roundtable concluded with a Networking Social event to facilitate further discussion on the vital role that agriculture plays in our province. We would also like to thank Honourable Timothy Halman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Tom Taggart, MLA for Colchester North for their attendance at the networking social. We look forward to collaborating across government departments in the weeks, months, and years ahead, as we work to grow Nova Scotia together.
Finally, thank you to our industry members who contributed their time and efforts to making this Roundtable a success and bringing the unified voice of so many commodities to the table. Read more on the growing Nova Scotia report below.
Growing Nova Scotia Together
Farming, along with other resource industries like fishing and forestry, is the backbone of our rural communities. Nova Scotia’s agriculture industry also supports environmental sustainability through the preservation of critical habitats, improving soil health and water quality, and supporting climate change efforts. There are many benefits to growing our province’s food system, such as food security enhancement, reducing our carbon footprint, promoting environmental stewardship, and bolstering economic growth.
And perhaps most impactful at this time, farmers are proud to provide healthy food to support healthy people – a strong agriculture industry is a foundational component to fixing the healthcare crisis long-term.
The province of Nova Scotia has set an ambitious objective of doubling its population. As such, a prosperous agriculture industry is critical to ensuring we can meet the demands of an increasing number of consumers with locally grown products while providing opportunities and the environment for newcomers to join the industry as employees and farm operators.
Although the opportunities in the agriculture industry are apparent, it has been grappling with substantial obstacles for the past few decades. These challenges have not only affected the sector’s economic stability but have also taken a toll on farmers’ mental health, with declining farm profits and increasing barriers, regulatory demands, and roadblocks.
Nova Scotia’s farmers want nothing more than to continue providing safe, affordable, and accessible food for Nova Scotians, but it cannot come at the expense of their physical and mental health, or at the expense of providing for their own families.
In a recent National Survey on Farmer Mental Health, stress, anxiety, depression, emotional exhaustion, and cynicism (two components of burnout), suicide ideation and lowered resilience were all higher among farmers than the national average. However, farmers are known to be eternal optimists and continue to invest in their farms and our future.
We are at a crucial juncture where our choice is clear – we must work together to alter the course, protecting not only one of Nova Scotia’s oldest and most valued occupations – but to protect our farmers working tirelessly today, and the next generation of farmers tomorrow.
The only way to grow our industry and our province is to work toward a common goal of growing Nova Scotia together.
The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture (NSFA) and its industry partners have come together to identify key areas that require immediate attention to propel the industry forward. Investing in agriculture is a strategic move that pays off in the long term, even though the immediate benefits may not always be visible. By investing in agriculture, we are investing in the health and sustainability of our province, while securing a prosperous future for generations to come. We truly believe that the agriculture industry can support the government in achieving its long-term goals for the province in health care, environmental targets, and population growth.
To read our full Growing Nova Scotia Together report which highlights the opportunities, challenges, and solutions for a prosperous and sustainable future for Nova Scotia farms and farmers, you can access the files below!
Growing Nova Scotia Together Material