Until recently, I owned a 90-acre organic farm just outside of Guelph. This farm has special value for agriculture because it has some of the best soil in Ontario (Guelph loam), it has abundant water, and it’s close to large urban food markets in nearby Toronto and Guelph.
I loved, and still do love, this land. I kept the old hedgerows as havens for birds, including the bobolink and barn swallow, two species at risk in Ontario. While I lived on the farm, I nurtured a community of young farmers and helped them get their start in growing vegetables and raising grass-fed beef. Then, when it was time to sell the farm, I knew I wanted to be able to preserve this important acreage and all the work I had put into stewarding the land and the community.
So, I worked with the Ontario Farmland Trust to place an easement on the farm, and this land is now my legacy. As beautiful and productive as the farm is, it was also in the path of nearby housing developments, which continue to creep closer every year.
If farm owners like myself do nothing to save active working farms like this one, our children and future generations will suffer, more and more, from declining sources of healthy, locally produced food. I consider it my duty and privilege to have saved this farm forever.
I have now passed along this beautiful farm to two young farmers who will continue to steward and maintain the land, in farming, forever.