Sask. rancher calls for education, not hate, after small-town school apologizes for anti-farming sign
Sign said farming hurts oceans and chemicals affect habitats
A Saskatchewan rancher hopes an apology from an Outlook, Sask., school can be used as a teachable moment.
Adrienne Ivey farms and ranches in central Saskatchewan and blogs about her experience on View From The Ranch Porch. Ivey said she was disappointed after seeing Outlook Elementary School put up a sign reading, "Farming affects oceans. Chemicals hurt habitats & species. They also decr [decrease] oxygen levels."
The school has since taken down the sign. Both the school and Sun West School Division apologized on social media, with the divison saying the sign's message was "unfair to the agricultural industry and we understand why many people, especially those whose livelihood comes from farming, found it offensive."
The division said it will improve agricultural literacy in its schools. CBC Saskatchewan has contacted the school division for further comment.
Ivey said she hopes this becomes a teachable moment not only for the students and staff, but for the general population. Ivey said nothing comes from hate and anger, and that it doesn't matter who put up the sign, but she hopes it inspires more farmers to share their stories.
"It's really easy for anyone who isn't involved in agriculture to think that food production is no longer humanized, that maybe it's big giant corporations or nameless, faceless robots that are creating the food that we're eating. But it couldn't be any farther from that," Ivey said.
Ivey said Canadian grown and raised food is made by everyday people, and that farmers deeply care about the environment and the people eating the food. When it comes to the chemicals referenced on the sign, Ivey said chemicals are only used as tools, rooted in science.
"They're very highly regulated and oversaw by Health Canada, and also the Canada Food System and Food Inspection Agency. So it's really important to understand that there is nothing used on Canadian farms that isn't highly, highly researched and studied and approved," she said.
Ivey said the word "chemicals" is often used to only scare people or incite fear. Ivey said farmers are open books and love talking about what they do, so people who are fearful and want to know more should just ask.
"When people don't understand and ask us honest, genuine, open questions, nothing makes us happier. Through all this, I've had many questions and I love answering them all," she said.
Ivey said if people are concerned about their environmental footprint when it comes to food, it's simple to eat food produced as locally as possible and control food waste so less goes in the trash.
She said she hopes the school can connect with Agriculture in the Classroom, a charity that tries to help students understand their local food systems.