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Thousands gather in downtown Charlottetown for Farm Day

Thousands gathered in downtown Charlottetown for Farm Day in the city. (CTV/Jack Morse) Thousands gathered in downtown Charlottetown for Farm Day in the city. (CTV/Jack Morse)

Thousands of people crowded a few downtown streets in Charlottetown Sunday morning for Farm Day in the city.

The event is a chance for farmers to get in front of urban people. When only two per cent of Canadians farm, we're further than we've ever been from where food comes from.

“This is really important for people to know how the food is grown, the practices that we use. The things that’s we’re trying to prioritize, like sustainability, on our farms,” said Maggie McCormick, with the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture. “It gives us a chance to talk about that.”

Events like this are the first chance some kids get to be up close and personal with farm animals, connecting with where food comes from, more than just the grocery store.

“It’s a big experience for them. A lot of kids don’t get to experience seeing a cow up close, or a pig up close,” said Sara Arsenault, owner of Lexie’s Hobby Farm. “Sometimes they don’t even really know what it is.”

It’s also an opportunity to teach a little bit about farming to people who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to learn about it.

That kind of outreach is important for farmers. P.E.I. is losing more and more farmland to residential development, something the Federation of Agriculture is fighting against.

“We really need to protect the agricultural land that we have. A little bit of land use planning would go a long way for protect that land. Making sure it’s zoned appropriately, so when it changes hands it stays in agricultural land,” said McCormick. “It’s incredibly hard to get land back after it’s been developed.”

The Federation estimates, if it continues to be lost at the same rate, half of all the farmland on P.E.I. will be gone by 2050. That’s a dangerous prospect for one of the key industries in the country’s smallest and most densely populated province.

They hope an event like this will bring urban people just a little bit closer to their rural roots, and to understanding what an important role farming plays for the island.

For more P.E.I. news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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