Forever young? The crisis of generational renewal on Canada's farms


  • Darrin Qualman Independent researcher and writer
  • A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi Trent University
  • Annette Aurélie Desmarais University of Manitoba
  • Sharada Srinivasan University of Guelph



Agriculture in Canada, farm policy, young farmers


There are fewer and fewer young people actively farming in Canada.  Farmers under the age of 35 are leaving farming at twice the rate of the general farm population. As a result, Canada faces a crisis of generational renewal on its farms. This article explores the factors that mitigate against young people taking up farming. Using an analytical framework in part derived from the work of Henry Bernstein and applied to Statistics Canada data, the article demonstrates that there is an ongoing income crisis, a growing problem of farmland accessibility and costs associated with farm machinery, unrestrained increases in the power and profit-share of agribusiness transnationals, and a retreat of governments from public-interest regulation. In doing so, the article provides an evidence-based analysis of the structural factors and forces driving Canada's crisis of generational renewal on its farms.

Author Biographies

Darrin Qualman, Independent researcher and writer

Independent researcher and writer

A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi, Trent University

Professor of Economics and International Development Studies

Annette Aurélie Desmarais, University of Manitoba

Associate professor, Department of Sociology, Canada Research Chair in Human Rights, Social Justice and Food Sovereignty

Sharada Srinivasan, University of Guelph

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Canada Research Chair in Gender, Justice and Development




How to Cite

Qualman, D., Akram-Lodhi, A. H., Desmarais, A. A., & Srinivasan, S. (2018). Forever young? The crisis of generational renewal on Canada’s farms. Canadian Food Studies La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 5(3), 100–127.