One of our great new volunteers, Baraka, wrote a blog for us about his connection to Ontario’s farmland. His story is below. Thank you for your work Baraka!
I was born in Toronto, where I lived until I was 7 years old. I can sleep through horns, sirens, and playoff games. But, there is something about getting out of the city and seeing livestock calmly chewing on grasses, the splendid spread of stars in the sky, and slowing down that always seems to pluck me from the hamster wheel into a place of peace. Unfortunately, I have noticed that every road trip, it takes a bit longer to get out of ‘the city’. Our farmland outside of urban areas is being developed at an alarming pace.
Food grows on farms, and 175 acres of Ontario’s farmland is disappearing every day1. Some of the conditions that make for great farmland can also make it easier to develop (e.g. flat, cleared land with good drainage) 2. However, less farmland means less Ontario produce in your local grocery store.
To me, the unofficial start of summer is when peaches are finally in season. I am not sure what it is about the peaches, maybe it’s the bursts of sweet juices accented with an acidic punch, but peaches remind me of the value of our local farmland. I want our farmland to be protected, so that I can always welcome in the summer season with fresh, Ontario peaches.
When I see our farmland being developed, it makes me think about all that we are losing. I wonder if there will be a day when you go to the grocery store and there are no more Ontario peaches, or, despite how long you drive, you cannot seem to leave ‘the city’. That is why I think that protecting our farmland is crucial for the sake of future generations.
1) Statistics Canada. 2016. Census of Agriculture. Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=3210040701&pickMembers%5B0%5D=1.1063&cubeTimeFrame.startYear=2011&cubeTimeFrame.endYear=2016&referencePeriods=20110101%2C20160101
2) OMAFRA. 2021. Climate Zones and Planting Dates for Vegetables in Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/climzoneveg.htm