We hope you’ve been eating your rainbow of vegetables because June is Pride month! Agriculture can be an isolating business, especially in rural areas. Those in the LGBTQ+ community may feel even more isolated if they lack an understanding and accepting support system. LGBTQ+ inclusive spaces in agriculture are important to fostering community and encouraging diversity in farming. These initiatives aim to create LGBTQ+ spaces within the agriculture scene so that members of the community can be among peers, as well as advocate for change. Here are a few agricultural LGBTQ+ communities and initiatives across Canada:
The Canadian Rockies Gay Rodeo Association, Alberta
The Canadian Rockies Gay Rodeo Association (CRGRA) hosts a yearly rodeo in Calgary. The rodeo aims to provide a fun, prejudice-free zone where members of the LGBTQ+ community can comfortably compete in the rodeo, which has traditionally been a fairly macho environment. The CRGRA hosts regular rodeo events like steer wrestling and barrel racing, but events aren’t separated by gender. Non-standard events are also held, like a wild drag race, in which the contestants dress livestock in drag clothing.
The Rainbow Chard Collective, British Columbia
The Rainbow Chard Collective is a group with the goal of “redefining the family farm.” The group rejects the heteronormative family model that is often associated with farming and instead aims to build a community of LGBTQ+ farmers. The Collective has taken part in many Pride events, hosted workshops, and even created an LGBTQ+ farm calendar.
Growing in the Margins, Ontario
Growing in the Margins is a 12-week mentorship in Toronto for youth who face barriers in the food system. The mentorship aims to help youth start their own urban farm, enter the agriculture industry, or lead food sovereignty movements. The program is specifically designed for youths that identify as low-income, Black, Indigenous, a Person of Colour, LGBTQ+, or a person with a disability. Cheyenne Sundance, the founder of Growing in the Margins, says “To have a resilient food system it needs to be resilient for all, not just those with power and privilege who have access to education, rural farm internships and land.”
Do you know of any other great LGBTQ+ agricultural associations? Let us know in the comments!