Dear Friends of Farmland,
Please enjoy the story below, about one of our easement donor’s heritage in agriculture and the journey that led him to the decision to protect his farmland, forever.
Although I grew up on a farm just outside of Lucknow, and enjoyed my childhood days working on the farm, I never thought I would farm when I grew up. Instead, I pursued studies at the University of Guelph with plans to work in the agricultural field.
But after living in Toronto for a couple of years I found myself missing the connection with the land. It was not enough for me to be casually engaged with growers by visiting farms. I wanted to be involved with agriculture and become a producer again.
So, we started searching for land. And in 1985 we purchased our farm, just outside of Collingwood. The land was being rented out after a failed attempt at subdividing the land for development. This presented an opportunity for us to purchase the land and bring it back to good agricultural and ecological health.
The farm was our family home and business. We developed a family run pick your own strawberry business with an accompanying roadside market for 25 years. We created a community around our farm.
In the last few years we expanded into gourds, pumpkins and decorative fall items, instead of berries. It started as a hobby with each of our children tending and experimenting with their own piece of land on the farm, and then it grew into a business, as these things often do.
In 2016 we decided to permanently protect our farm with an agricultural easement. It was an important decision. There is a history and connection here that I do not want to be lost. The farm is my family’s legacy.
Farming is my heritage. My family originated in Ireland, and came over to Canada at the time of the potato famine. They farmed the land since. My father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great grandfather relied on farming as their livelihood. To honour that and pay it forward is important.
I feel we owe it to future generations to ensure there is healthy agricultural land for farming. We do not realize the extent to which farmland is being lost. I feel that our present-day society and the culture that we live in does not place a high enough value on farmland. There is a misconception that there is an endless supply of food. Not many people have a memory of going hungry or being without food anymore. We just go to the grocery store and the food is there.
So, it is hard to make the connection between our food and the land. But it is important to not forget. It is important to make the connection, and to protect the farmland that produces our food.
I am grateful to have found the Ontario Farmland Trust, an organization willing to fight for farmland. I take great pride in knowing we have protected our small piece of land for the future, and hope others will do the same.
Farmland Easement Donor
If you would like to read more about Murray’s farm click here.