What does a healthy and resilient food system look like in Ontario? How can we plan for food system development in our communities, while also supporting our farmers and diverse agricultural activities in the countryside? How much farmland would we need to protect for Ontario to be self-sufficient in food production?
These are some of the questions Farmland Trust staff and board members have been asking over the past three years during the development of our Places to Grow Food project. OFT completed the groundbreaking education and outreach project in May 2011, with the release of the Places to Grow Food Plan.
The Places to Grow Food (PTGF) project was launched in response to the province’s Places to Grow Act (2005), which dictates where Ontario’s fastest growing urban communities will be located and how they will be designed. The PTGF initiative raises awareness of the need to plan for the future of rural and agricultural areas of the province in addition to major urban centres. The PTGF project brings issues of rural economic development and farmland conservation to the forefront, presents municipalities with many tools, ideas and resources, and helps to inform food and agricultural policy directions at all levels of government.
OFT’s new Places to Grow Food Plan offers three innovative resources that can be used by planners, economic development officers, municipal councillors and other policy makers to address local or regional food and agricultural issues. These include:
- Farmland Requirements for Ontario’s Growing Population to 2036;
- Planning Regional Food Systems: A Guide for Municipal Planning and Development in the Greater Golden Horseshoe; and
- Food Systems Planning by Design: A Blueprint for Food Systems Evaluation.
Stay tuned for further developments in this Places to Grow Food project, and how these resources will continue to be used with planners, municipalities and other groups across Ontario.
The Places to Grow Food project is supported through a generous grant from the Metcalf Foundation.