FARMING GROUPS CALL FOR URBAN BOUNDARY FREEZE TO SAVE FARMLAND
November has been a historic moment for farmland protection in Ontario. For the first time, all of the province’s major farm organizations, representing some 52,000 farms and 78,000 farmers, have come together to call on the provincial government to freeze urban boundaries to prevent urban sprawl and protect farmland within the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).
This strong and united message from Ontario’s farm organizations was first published in the Hamilton Spectator– click here to read. This article fueled the vital conversation of farmland protection against expanding municipal boundaries and displacement of farming communities in the GGH. The call for stronger provincial leadership in farmland protection came to light due to the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review, where the province’s proposed changes to GGH land use planning policies fail to protect agricultural lands from status-quo low density development. Click here to learn more about the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review.
In a media release this week, farm organizations continue to advocate for the implementation of firm urban boundaries and responsible growth planning that protects farmland and the GGH’s vibrant agri-food economy. See the latest press release by clicking here.
Part of the rationale for introducing limits on urban expansion is that the GGH has an excess of 25 years’ worth of farmland already designated by municipalities to accommodate growth in both urban and rural settlement areas (Neptis Foundation, 2015). An area of prime farmland 1.5 times the size of the City of Toronto is in the process of being rapidly converted to housing subdivisions, warehouses and strip malls.
Not just home to the best farmland in Canada, the Greater Golden Horseshoe is home to one of North America’s largest agricultural and agri-food industry clusters, with a unique diversity of primary farm production, food processing, food service, food distribution and retail that represents the fastest growing employment sector in Ontario and generates $12.3 billion in annual economic activity.