A new web series that follows three farm families aims to "bridge the gap" between Canadians and their food.
"Real Farm Lives," a six-part documentary-style show, was shot at three farms in Saskatchewan and Ontario. The series is produced by Croplife Canada, a trade association that represents producers and players in the agriculture industry.
Croplife's CEO, Pierre Petelle, told HuffPost Canada the show was developed as a way to both bring Canadians into the daily lives of farmers and as a way to combat what he called "misinformation" around farming technology.
"We know that fewer and fewer people have a connection to agriculture," Petelle said.
"There's a lot of hype around crop protection products, pesticides, whether they're safe, we hear a lot of things about GMOs. And really, for someone who's not immersed in this or not involved in the area, it can be confusing."
The first episode of the series, released Wednesday, follows the Renwick family at their Chatham-Kent, Ont. farm, where they grow corn, soybeans and wheat.
"We all have to eat three times a day," Chris Renwick told HuffPost. "I think we need to bridge that gap where ... every family used to have a close connection to the farm. Maybe [they] had a farm, or their parents had a farm, and I think that that is not the way it is anymore.
"I think that it's just people in urban areas maybe don't understand what we're doing and how we're doing it, and we want to make sure that they understand why we're doing things the way we are to produce the healthy and safe crops for them to eat."
For Madison Englot, participating on the show with her family was a way to show Canadians the human side of farming.
Like Renwick, she said the biggest goal of the series is to build a direct link between food in grocery stores and the people who produce it.
"Our population is growing and we know the demand for food is also growing," the 21-year-old said. "We really need to educate people on where their food comes from, why it comes from there and how, so that they understand what they're eating and are not afraid to eat what's presented at a grocery store."
Another aim of the show, Englot added, is to alleviate the fears and misconceptions that she says many people have about the technologies and products used in modern farming, like pesticides or GMOs. She wants Canadians to know that farmers don't produce anything they won't eat themselves.
"We're not dumping jugs of chemicals onto the seed that goes into production. That's not how it is."
Asked if Croplife is promoting this defence of farming technology throughout the show, Petelle said the series has "no agenda."
"This is completely unscripted. This is farmers talking and answering questions. These farmers are talking from the heart," he said.
For Englot and Renwick, being on the show gave them a rare a chance to reach Canadians all over the country.
"We just really wanted to show everyone what it's actually like on a farm. It's not the production line that some people may think," Englot said. "We just really wanted to show people that we take pride in what we do and that it's really what it takes to get food from the farm to the table."
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