Losing 319 acres of farmland a day in Ontario should be alarming to everyone, as it is one resource that every single Ontarian relies upon.
Those are the updated statistics from the Census of Agriculture1. While the amount of farmland in Ontario is shrinking, the Ontario Farmland Trust’s (OFT) portfolio of protected properties is expanding with more requests for us to protect farmland coming in from across the province.
Housing is in short supply and financially unattainable for many Ontarians. Locally extracted aggregates are more cost effective and travel less kilometres. Meanwhile, using farmland for development or aggregate extraction is an easy solution to address these needs. This makes farmland loss a wicked problem. But we can no longer take the easy road to solve these problems or we risk losing our communities’ resiliency, food supply and rural cultures.
At OFT we are not saying “no” to development. What we want is to ensure that growth can be tailored around existing municipal boundaries where the infrastructure already exists and can support growth. We want to encourage municipalities to reflect on the impacts of an economic model requiring infinite growth in a world with finite resources. It will take a lot of unique thinking to find solutions to address the needs of Ontarians without losing more farmland, and OFT looks forward to being at the table for those discussions.
So what can you do about farmland protection? Try the options below!
Talk to your municipal councillors, MPPs and MPs about these issues, and let them know that we need forward thinking planning that can serve our communities better and prioritize the protection of farmland and natural habitats at the same time.
Tell your friends and family about farmland loss and help raise awareness! Many people don’t know the extent of farmland loss, or the consequences it can have, so raising awareness is key. Check out our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for facts about farmland loss and protection that are easy to share within your networks.
No matter how you choose to support Ontario’s farmland, we at Ontario Farmland Trust thank you, and we know that future generations will thank you too.
- Statistics Canada. 2021. Census of Agriculture. Retrieved from Statistics Canada.