This past year has been one unlike any other, as we have all coped and adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. As an organization it has been a year of adaptation, and one defined by new initiatives, collaboration and strategic planning. Below are some highlights from 2020.
A Growing Membership
Over the past year EFAO has had a total of 720 members. That is almost 200 new members from the previous year!
Farmer-to-Farmer Knowledge Sharing
This year has been defined by the move to online formats for training and farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing and connection.
- This year 74 members taught 1212 people at 80 events. This included 69 virtual events, 40 of which were hosted in partnership with Ignatius Farm and Everdale as part of the Ignatius New Farmer Training Program.
- The 6th Annual Ecological Farmers of Ontario Conference took place on Dec 2 – 5, 2019 in Belleville, where 40 EFAO members led 27 conference workshops, farm tours and community meetings.
Cultivating Curiosity with Farmer-led Research
EFAO is in its fifth year of supporting members to answer their specific on-farm questions with farmer-led research. In 2020, 40 different farmer-researchers conducted 25 on-farm trials in cooperation with EFAO.
To read full research reports, listen to summaries and watch videos of the 2020 trials visit efao.ca/research-2020/.
Diversifying with Small Grains
EFAO’s pilot Small Grains Program is supporting Ontario farmers to diversify their crop rotation by adding a new small grain followed by a legume cover or forage crop. In 2021 EFAO will be supporting 8 farmers to grow 600 acres of new small grain. EFAO also welcomed 100+ other farmers to the Small Grains Network, that will provide training and farmer-to-farmer support and information about small grains production and marketing.
To learn more about the program and the benefits of small grains visit efao.ca/small-grains.
Advocating for Climate-Friendly Policy
In late 2019, EFAO became a founding member of Farmers for Climate Solutions (FCS), a national coalition of farmer-led and farmer-supporting organizations that believe that agriculture must be part of the solution to climate change.
Since formally launching the campaign in February, FCS has gained national media attention, held meetings with federal ministers, had the federal government include FCS language in the September Speech from the Throne, and assembled a farmer-led task force to quantify GHG reduction potential and cost of climate-friendly on-farm practices to inform the federal government’s 2021 budget.
To learn more about Farmers for Climate Solutions visit farmersforclimatesolutions.ca
Thank you to all the members, whose hard work and engagement is at the heart of everything EFAO does.
Big thanks to all the partners, sponsors, donors and funders who make it possible for EFAO to offer a variety of innovative farmer-led programs and initiatives in ecological agriculture.
Click on the image below to read the full annual report.