Joining us on this episode is Mike Schreiner, the Leader of the Green Party of Ontario and a member of the Provincial Parliament for Guelph. Mike is here not to talk politics, but to discuss his lifelong passion for food and agriculture. Before politics, Mike was an entrepreneur and advocate for the local food movement.
Mike grew up on a cash crop farm, raising crops and cattle. He worked from 7 am to 7 pm almost every day, and to entertain himself he would practice political speeches by himself. This led to a lifelong interest in politics and brought him to the Green Party, along with his food-based entrepreneurship. He wanted to help build the sustainable food movement in Ontario and knew policy change could only come from within.
Since he began his political journey, the perception of food and agriculture has shifted. Mike wants to spread the connection between farmers and consumers. There’s a greater appreciation for where food comes from and how it’s produced. Social media, for all its downsides, is a great tool for farmers and producers to show people how their environments operate.
When it comes to bridging the rural/urban divide, a leader can help by educating. It’s about communicating why some farmers do things one way over the other and what the market needs. Even during the pandemic, projects like backyard gardens and community gardens were valuable tools to educate.
It’s also important to publicize the loss of farmland and how important it is to protect it. With the disappearance of farmland comes food shortages and price increases. It’s something that needs to be preserved.
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