Multiple groups are available for networking and support
By Diego Flammini
With June recognized as Pride Month, Farms.com has compiled a list of some LGBTQ+ groups in Canadian agriculture.
In Calgary, Alta., for example, there is the Canadian Rockies Gay Rodeo Association.
The organization is the only LGBTQ rodeo held outside of the United States.
Its mission statement includes providing recreation for members of the LGBTQ community and fostering a sense of tolerance and togetherness within the community at large.
A membership costs $25.
In June 2021, Jeff Nielsen, a cash crop producer from Olds, Alta., shared part of his journey in agriculture as a gay man with Better Farming.
“The work to improve diversity in ag, on farm association boards and on local committees is ongoing,” he said. “I hope there is a growing comfort for anyone in ag not to feel frightened and to have the support to be an active member of their communities.”
An online community for members of Canadian ag’s 2SLGBTQ+ community is the Pride in Ag Instagram account.
Julia Romagnoli, a production systems specialist for John Deere, started the page in 2020 to increase representation in agriculture.
“We celebrate differences in agriculture every day. Specialization of agriculture is always growing. So, we can have that diversity in the industry – we also need to recognize the diversity in people,” she told Farms.com in June 2021.
The Rural Ontario Community of Queer Youth is a collective of 2SLGBTQ+ youth from across Ontario.
The group’s mission is “to improve the mental health and wellbeing of rural 2SLGBTQ+ youth from across Ontario by fostering leadership skills and creating community.”
The group also has a Facebook page available.
In Quebec, Fierté Agricole helps bring farmers in the 2SLGBTQ+ community together.
The organization started in 2008 with a Christmas dinner after farmers in the 2SLGBTQ+ community voiced concerns over facing loneliness.
As of 2017 the organization had 40 official members and more than 150 on its mailing list. Members gather multiple times per year for dinners, farm visits and other activities, CBC reported at the time.
The Rainbow Chard Collective is based out of B.C.
Mel Sylvestre helped create the organization in the mid-2000s.
“We thought there was a need to create a support network for those people who were not as privileged as us, to say, ‘Hey you’re not alone,” she told Small Farm Canada in June 2022.
Know of any more groups or organizations supporting members of Canadian ag and the 2SLGBTQ+ communities? Let us know!