Farm Radio Forum

Farm Radio Forum, 1941-65, was a national rural listening-discussion group project sponsored by the Canadian Association for Adult Education, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and CBC. Up to 27 000 persons met in neighbourhood groups Monday nights, November through March, using half-hour radio broadcasts, printed background material and pretested questions as aids to discussion of social and economic problems.

Farm Forum provided an antidote to the hard times of the 1930s economic depression, and meeting and discussing new ideas in neighbours' homes helped restore rural confidence, often leading to positive group action in the community. Farm Forum innovations included a regional report-back system, whereby group conclusions were collected centrally and broadcast regularly across Canada, occasionally being sent to appropriate governments. In addition, discussion - leading to self-help - resulted in diverse community "action projects" such as co-operatives, new forums and folk schools. Farm and community leaders claimed that the give-and-take of these discussions provided useful training for later public life. In 1952, UNESCO commissioned research into Farm Forum techniques. Its report was published in 1954, and consequently India, Ghana and France began using Canadian Farm Forum models in their programs.