N.L. young farmers raise awareness through social media

Matthew Carlson Headshot.JPG

by Matthew Carlson
The Newfoundland and Labrador Young Farmers’ Forum (NLYFF) is once again taking to social media to raise awareness of local food production, farming as a career, and farmers in the community.

The Young Farmer of the Week program is back on social media this spring and summer. It allows a different young farmer to share posts through the group’s social media accounts one week at a time to help portray life on the farm.

The Young Farmer of the Week program was first launched in 2015 on Twitter and resulted in growth and engagement for the NLYFF on the platform. It has been run again two to three times every year and continues to get lots of engagement and very positive feedback. The program has since expanded to Facebook and Instagram to allow users of those platforms to follow the updates and engage with young farmers.

The program takes us through the spring planting season and into the summer. It connects the public to farmers, raises awareness, and highlights local products.

Most of these young farmers are also using social media on a personal basis and for their farm businesses. They tell their farm’s story, give harvest updates, promote sales venues, highlight in-season products, and answer customer questions. Doing all this through the NLYFF’s social media allows them to reach many more people.

With recent studies showing that fewer than three percent of Canadians have a direct connection to the farm, it is important to run programs like these and for agriculture groups and individual farmers to reach out and show what is happening on the farm. Explaining how things are done and why they are done will help bridge that information gap.

The Young Farmer of the Week program is part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness through the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture’s Young Farmers Initiative. The initiative is funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Anyone interested in this program can follow @NLYFF on Twitter and Instagram and @nlyoungfarmers on Facebook.

(Matthew Carlson is the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture’s young farmers coordinator. He has been with the federation since 2007 and moved into his current position in 2015.)