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Real Farm Lives

New documentary series shows how food finds its way to Canadians

A recent survey from the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity reveals that most Canadians are disconnected from the people who grow their food and how it is grown. Perceptions of farming are often outdated, inaccurate and cliched. In fact, 93 per cent of Canadians say they know little-to-nothing about farming.

Beginning October 24, Real Farm Lives, a documentary web series, aims to challenge those misperceptions. The series will give Canadians an entertaining and informative glimpse into the daily lives of real farm families from Ontario and Saskatchewan as they work to get food from their farms to our forks. The six episodes, released weekly throughout October and November on, will help Canadians better understand the complexities of modern farming in the face of climate change, population growth and evolving consumption habits.

"There is a lot of misinformation out there about food production and farming techniques, which can cause fear and anxiety," said Pierre Petelle, president and CEO of CropLife Canada, the association that produced the series. "By connecting Canadians with real farmers who sustainably grow our safe, high-quality food, we hope viewers will learn about the obstacles farmers have to tackle and the tools they need to do their jobs well."

The families cast in Real Farm Lives personify twenty-first century farming. Their actions, conversations, and emotions in the series are as honest and authentic as their labour.

The Renwick family of Renwick Ridgeview Acres in Wheatley, Ontario, have been proudly farming for 200 years. Chris and Rachel Renwick grow soybeans and corn, while their young children learn the business by growing pumpkins, zucchinis and flowers, and selling produce at the roadside.

The Englot family of Costa Lotta Farms in Montmartre, Saskatchewan represent three generations of farmers growing canola and wheat on a 3000-acre grain farm. For twenty-one-year-old Madison Englot, time spent on the farm gives her an edge in her academic studies, because she sees firsthand the applications of what she's learning at university.  

The Ardiel family of Apple Springs Orchards in Clarksburg, Ontario are passionate about growing apples. Father-son duo Shane and Kyle Ardiel work to stay ahead of the curve by anticipating consumer preferences for apple varieties, incorporating new machine technologies, and experimenting with different trellis systems for their trees.

The series delves into the families' trials and tribulations, including how weather, insects, weeds and diseases have the potential to impact their crops and livelihoods. With each episode addressing a different aspect of harvest preparations, viewers discover the role plant science plays in protecting the farmers' crops and the food we eat. But it's not all work and no play – the episodes also encompass the fun moments and family dynamics that happen in an ordinary day.

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