2021 was great year for farmland protection!
In 2021 OFT held our very first online Farmland Forum. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we were not able to host our event in-person like we had hoped, however this led to an amazing online event that was officially the biggest Farmland Forum ever, with 246 attendees from across Canada. To read more about the day, check out our recap blog here. This year, we are excited to host our second ever virtual Farmland Forum, exploring the future of farmland diversification. To read more about this event, click here.
Also in 2021, we partnered once again with the National Farmers’ Union – Ontario (NFU-O) to host two series of land-linking workshops as a follow-up to our 2020 workshops on succession planning. These new workshops explored a variety of topics including BIPOC farmland access, farm business models, and land-linking, wherein aspiring farmers were able to connect with established or retiring farmers who may be able to provide mentorship and more.
Another important project that we took on in 2021 was about the importance of protecting all of Ontario’s farmland. Ontario’s farmland has been sorted into different classes, and while some classes are more versatile for agriculture, all of Ontario’s farmland is capable of producing food for future generations of Ontarians. Check out our fact sheet and new video on why all of Ontario’s farmland is worthy of protection here.
And we cannot forget that we welcomed two new members to our team this year. Melissa (Communications and Development Manager) and Hershil (Policy and Event Planning Intern), joined us in July and we are so happy that they did!
We are also excited to announce that we protected an additional 725 acres of farmland and natural habitat in 2021, including our biggest farmland protection project ever! The protection of three more farms has brought us to over 2300 permanently protected acres of farmland and natural habitat.
The Farrow Family Farms are officially the biggest farmland protection project in OFT history. The two farms total over 620 acres of farmland and valuable natural habitat, and are home to five different species at risk. The Farrow family protected their farms because they wanted to ensure that the farmland is kept in the farming community long-term, for the benefit of future generations. Read more about the Farrow Family Farms here.
The protection of the Douglas and Bourgeois Farm is what brings OFT to a milestone of 20 protected farms. This 98-acre farm is home to rich agricultural soil and irreplaceable wildlife habitat that is an important part of a nearby wildlife corridor. The Douglas and Bourgeois family wanted to protect their farm and the associated natural habitat to ensure it will be there for future generations of Ontarians and wildlife alike. Read more about the Douglas and Bourgeois Farm here.
Farmland conservation would not be possible without you, our generous supporters. We put together a thank you video that was filmed on our protected farms, to show you what you have helped protect. To view that video, click here.