On Wednesday June 15th the Ontario Farmland Trust hosted its Annual Members’ Meeting at the Grandway Events Centre!

The meeting was overseen by Board Chair Bernard Pope, and Secretary Megan Mills.

We started off the morning by hearing from Mike Schreiner, the MPP for Guelph and the leader of the provincial Green Party. Mike spoke passionately about the need for farmland protection in order to fight climate change and increase food security for Ontarians. Thank you for making time in your busy schedule Mike!

Following greetings, Bernard began the meeting by acknowledging the vital role that members, volunteers, and staff play in the protection of Ontario’s farmland. Bernard also focused on the strides that OFT has made in its mission of permanently protecting farmland forever, and looked forward to the exciting prospects for farmland protection in the coming year.

Next, Megan reviewed the progress OFT has made towards farmland protection in the past year by reviewing the 2021 Donor Impact Report, taking time to highlight the three new farms that were protected by farmland easement agreements in 2021. Megan spoke about the Douglas and Bourgeois Farm which has been aptly coined a “wildlife superhighway” due to the amazing number of animals that use the farmland and natural habitat to travel to other natural areas in the landscape. Megan also took a chance to acknowledge the completion of the largest project in OFT history, the Farrow Family Farms. Spanning over 620 acres over two separate parcels, the protection of these properties brought OFT to over 2000 permanently protected acres. In 2022, OFT looks forward to expanding farmland protection efforts as we continue to work with landowners who are passionate about protecting their farmland!

We would also like to extend a warm welcome to Mike Douglas, who will be joining our Board of Directors. Additionally, we would like to extend a warm welcome back to Mark Reusser, who joined our Board of Directors as well. We look forward to working with you both to protect Ontario’s farmland!

Following the meeting’s adjournment, we heard about some new research on agri-hoods, and their potential impact on agricultural communities. Hearing about new planning methods that centre neighbourhoods around agriculture definitely inspired us, and challenged the way we think about the future of provincial agricultural systems.

Thank you to everyone who attended, we look forward to seeing you next year!

We would also like to extend a big thank you to our event’s sponsor, the Grand River Agricultural Society.