You don’t have to wait until you’re a big company to start giving back to your community. When we started Farm At Hand, we promised that farmers would always be at the centre of our company, and that still holds true today.
We launched #HereForFarmers as a way to show we care about farmers’ well-being regardless of their operation size, farming method or technology of choice.
Being a farmer is no easy task and is not an occupation for the risk averse or faint of heart. Most of what you get out of farming is beyond your control: weather, diseases, bugs, market prices, etc. Combine all those unknowns and the pressure of long hours, and you have a recipe for stress.
As I wrote before, as a consumer it’s easy to get caught up in the controversy swirling around agriculture and food right now. What’s harder is remembering that there are real farmers — real people — out there growing our food and putting their entire lives into each seed they put down. They’re facing huge amounts of stress, that at times push them to the breaking point. It’s even worse for farmers who have to deal with criticism and harassment based on misguided ‘facts’ when they may be going through some of the hardest times in their lives.
It’s unacceptable that farming has the highest suicide rates amongst any professions — that those who provide us with our daily sustenance find themselves without hope or the support they need.
We had to do something about this. We started the #HereForFarmers campaign for three reasons:
- As a reminder that almost everything we use and consume today is either directly produced by farmers, or a byproduct of what they grow. Check out this video.
- To raise funds for the Farm Stress Line. Mental health and access to resources should never be a luxury for anyone.
- To remove the stigma and start an open conversation about mental health.
Our first #HereForFarmers campaign raised almost $7,000 for the Farm Stress Line with contributions not only from Agribusinesses, but also the Vancouver tech ecosystem. We intend to continue doing this annually to provide better resources for farmers’ well-being and to bridge the gap between farmers and non-farmers.
Learn more about Farm at Hand and its co-founders Kim Keller and Himanshu Singh in this HIGHLINE Q&A.