The Ontario Farmland Trust (OFT) began to take shape at a workshop on farmland preservation hosted by the University of Guelph’s Centre for Land and Water Stewardship in 2002. Here, farm and conservation groups came together to discuss concerns about farmland loss in Ontario and the possibility of creating a new organization that would actively promote the preservation of farmland in the province. There emerged strong agreement that an innovative land trust model should be developed that would build bridges between land conservation and agriculture, and have a role in direct land protection, research and public education.
In 2004, the Ontario Farmland Trust became an incorporated non-profit organization and gained charitable status. From the start, OFT’s Board of Directors has included representation from Ontario’s major farm organizations, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, as well as academics, researchers, planners and other land conservation advocates.
Adhering to the Canadian Land Trust Alliance Standards and Practices, OFT has developed a reputation for fostering collaboration across sectors, providing sound policy advice and taking direct action to support land conservation initiatives in communities across Ontario. Today the Ontario Farmland Trust remains the only organization with a province-wide mandate to defend, protect and preserve our best farmlands.