One week ago today, on Wednesday, April 18, a small group of farmers and food advocates gathered in front of the Legislature in Fredericton to plant a little tree.
This was no ordinary tree. It was one of the many varieties developed by Francis Peabody Sharp in the fruit orchard he established in Upper Woodstock in 1846, when he was just 26 years old. The New Brunswick apple tree is well suited to growing conditions in our province, and at one time is said to have been present in most homestead orchards throughout New Brunswick. It produces a useful cooking apple that is also delicious eaten fresh off the tree at harvest.
The National Farmers Union in New Brunswick staged this event to launch their Local Food, Local Farms Campaign, focused on bringing public attention and government support to the need for a sustainable supply of safe, locally produced food. The NFU has asked the provincial government to spend money on promoting locally produced food, as is commonly done in other provinces and in other countries. They have also asked that all food in grocery stores and markets be clearly labeled with sufficient information to allow consumers to make informed choices when shopping for themselves and their families.
The little New Brunswick apple tree was removed from the grounds of the Legislature on Thursday, April 19, but it remains an important symbol of the NFU’s Local Food, Local Farms Campaign and of the urgency to establish food security for both urban and rural citizens. This little tree is part of our proud heritage and an important symbol of our agricultural future.
The NFU in NB now urges all municipal candidates to embrace the goals of the Local Food, Local Farms Campaign. Further we ask each successful candidate to commit to planting their own apple tree in prominent locations near their municipal offices. Information on purchasing and planting trees can be obtained from the NFU in NB or from your local nursery.
Working together, the farmers and the consumers of New Brunswick can and must succeed in securing the future of our food supply.
Barb Somerville, Secretary
National Farmers Union in New Brunswick
1 888 246 5583