The Ontario Farmland Trust (OFT) is pleased to announce protection of our 10th farm and 1,000th acre! Through a precedent-setting partnership with the Jesuits of Upper Canada, 92 acres of their Ignatius Jesuit Centre has been permanently protected with an OFT easement agreement.

Located just north of the City of Guelph, and adjacent to Guelph Lake, a 4,100 acre protected area, the easement reduces pressure for urban sprawl and buffers Wellington County farmlands beyond. The site also has important natural conservation values and is home to the Ignatius Old-Growth Forest project.

OFT’s Farmland Protection Easements are landowner-initiated ‘forever agreements’ that are registered on property title to prohibit any non-agricultural development on the land in the future. Other farms protected by OFT are located in Halton, Peel, Simcoe County and Huron County. The Ignatius Jesuit agreement is OFT’s first land protection project in our home community of Guelph-Wellington.

The easement is also the first of its kind in Canada that sees a Catholic Order partnering with a land trust to make a commitment to permanent land protection. We hope it opens doors for additional land conservation initiatives to take root where there are religious institutional land holdings and willing land trust partners in other communities throughout Ontario.

The Ignatius easement marks a major milestone for the Farmland Trust, our members, and the community of supporters who have mobilized around the permanent protection of Ontario’s at-risk agricultural lands. Since 2009, supporters like you have helped the Farmland Trust cultivate new ground and successfully pilot the first farmland protection easement agreements in Ontario. Farmers and other farm owners now have tangible options for protecting their land for farming and conservation, forever.