Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) joins with those in our community who are calling for an end to systemic racism, as well as discrimination and prejudice based on sexual orientation, gender, religion, and ability (visible and invisible), and linguistic discrimination. BFO is committed to advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion within the beef industry and the broader agri-food sector, and fighting racism and discrimination in all of its forms.
We recognize the beef sector is not always a diverse industry, particularly at the farmer and association level. Further along our supply chain, however, there is a great amount of diversity among the people dedicated to ensuring our product makes it to the tables of consumers. Likewise, our consumers are another integral and incredibly diverse group from all walks of life. We feel it is important to be a voice, build bridges, listen, learn, and support all members of our community.
We recognize and acknowledge this commitment is not a one-time thing – it’s a starting point for what needs to be a continually evolving conversation and effort, and ultimately a culture shift within the industry. These are more than just words on a page, they represent alignment and a commitment to future action at our highest level.
Recognizing the need to develop from within, we are focused on advocacy and education within the organization, its activities, and among the membership. There are a number of ways in which we are committed to development, including but not limited to the following:
- BFO is committed to listening and learning and speaking up against prejudice and discriminatory language, behaviour and actions.
- BFO is committed to increased understanding of how policies and programs related to agriculture affect Indigenous peoples. We commit to working with these groups on contentious issues such as allowing agriculture use on Crown land.
- BFO is committed to advocating for more diversity, equity and inclusion in agriculture.
- BFO is committed to education within our industry, including educating our membership on racism and other prejudice as well as promoting diversity and allyship.
- BFO is committed to ensuring our actions are not just self-serving, including promoting and using BIPOC-owned businesses, as well as developing more diverse and authentic recipes that appeal to and celebrate our diverse communities.
- BFO is committed to working in collaboration with other groups and individuals who are more knowledgeable than us on fighting discrimination.
- BFO is committed to evolving our commitments as we learn.
BFO will also continue to strongly support community organizations like Feed Ontario, AgScape and 4-H that we know provide important service, support, education and programing to diverse communities all across the province.
The BFO board and staff are actively looking at our own organization and current activities to see where we can do better and how we can weave education and advocacy around diversity, equity and inclusion into existing activities and programing. We are also looking at other ideas, initiatives, organizations or activities to support or partner on to put our commitment into action.
As we listen and learn, our commitments and actions will continue to develop over time as we work to evolve the culture within the beef industry and broader agri-food sector to be more welcoming to and supportive of all members of our communities.
This page will be updated and built upon as we learn, evolve, and put our words into action.