SUSTAIN Winter 2021

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40 WINTER 2021 FOR A RESPONSIBLE CANADIAN FOODSERVICE INDUSTRY JENNIFER PFENNING is a co-owner—and director of human resources, operations and marketing—of Pfenning's Organic Farm in Wilmot, Ontario. She is past President of the National Farmers Union Local 340 – Waterloo Wellington and served on the FoodShare Toronto Board of Directors for seven years. She also served on the Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable and is the past president of the Organic Council of Ontario. Presently, Pfenning is the Canadian representative on the Migration Collective of the International Peasants' Movement, La Via Campesina, and Chair of the NFU Migrant Worker Subcommittee. Her (impressive) credentials aside, Pfenning, in person, is equal parts tough and love. She radiates compassion and practically smells of elbow grease. She's humble, well- travelled, interested in other people and I think she's probably scrappy in all the right ways. Jenn Pfenning wants to embody the farm's motto—community- enriched agriculture. This means connecting customers to the land, the farm and local organic food production; offering alternatives to products of industrial agriculture; providing access to affordable, high- quality and sustainable products and food; sharing food and nutritional knowledge; and being an integrated member of the community. Wars, lessons, organic concepts and the Pfenning family J ennifer is married to Ekk Pfenning. The Pfenning's farming tradition dates back 400 years to Germany. "My father-in-law was one of the people at the table to set up the first organic certification in North America," she states. Ekk Pfenning's grandfather was injured in WWI and living in Germany, where farmers were forced into service. Says Pfenning: "I don't know the exact nature and circumstances of the injury, but what that meant was that by the time my father-in-law was 14, his father was confined to a wheelchair, so my father-in-law took over the farm." After WWII there was an influx of chemicals into into farming from companies that were producing or exploring chemicals for various really awful uses. At the end of WWII, they didn't have a war to supply with these toxins that could be used to kill insects and plants. This is when agrochemicals in terms of pest control got a push. This speaks to the permanent disruption of geopolitical events and the effects on industry. Pfenning's father-in-law initially used the chemicals on the farm—farmers were largely pressured to do so. At the time they were mixing DDT in a bucket with their bare hands. "You can just imagine the impact on farmers' health. He got sick. That didn't happen in five minutes, that took years, but he got sick and recognized the impacts on his health, and through a variety of things started reading Rudolf Steiner's work and got into biodynamic and regenerative types of agriculture. And this was a bold move economically and socially—choosing to grow organic back in Germany," says Pfenning. It took time, it wasn't an easy move to entirely organic, but it was ultimately successful and Pfenning's farm has been maintained as organic since then. Farming is family. Farming is hard work. The German government eventually expropriated a good chunk of the farm and, with it, the piece of land that

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