Municipal elections are coming up quickly, and they provide a great opportunity for you to make a difference for your local farmland. Important planning decisions are often made at the municipal level, so it is very important that your elected officials know how important farmland is to you.
Here are three ways that YOU can make farmland a municipal election issue:
1. Talk to your local candidates
Find out who stands for farmland protection and innovative development and growth within your community.
2. Provide your candidates with information about farmland loss in Ontario
When speaking to your candidates, give them the facts about farmland loss in Ontario. Raising awareness about farmland loss is always important, and your local candidates need to be informed about this important issue. Check out the talking points we have listed below to help you out, and consider sending them our digital postcard with the facts about farmland loss in Ontario! Download the postcard below.
3. Register to vote, and then get out to the polls on October 24th!
Choose the local candidate who showed you that they care about farmland protection. Check and see if you are registered here.
Remember, always be respectful and kind while speaking to your local candidates. Dialogue is critical to our democratic process, and it is important that your voice is heard, but your candidates are people too.
Some talking points…
- Our agricultural land is a finite and non-renewable resource. It takes over 1000 years to form 2-3 cm of soil.
- The rate of farmland loss is increasing. The latest Census of Agriculture (2016-2021) shows the rate of farmland loss increased from 175 acres to 319 acres every day.
- Farmland is the backbone of the agri-food sector, which contributes over $47 billion to the GDP annually. The agri-food sector also employs over 837,000 Ontarians along the supply chain.
- Farmland provides ecosystem services like flood mitigation, water filtration, and carbon sequestration, all of which will benefit the communities that surround them. These services will also be vital to the fight against climate change.
- Ontario’s population is going to continue to increase. We need houses, and we need local farmland that can help feed the people who live in those houses. We need to plan for higher-density housing options in areas already developed that will preserve local natural resources, provide affordable housing options, and that will contribute to complete communities.
- “Strong Mayor Powers” should be rejected wholly, to ensure that local planning follows a democratic process.
- Democratically passed legislation, like the Planning Act, should be followed 100% of the time. Tools that bypass this legislation, like Minister’s Zoning Orders, jeopardize farmland, natural habitats, and waste tax money that has already been spent to create local Official Plans.
Check out our digital postcard below, and be sure to share it with your local candidates!
After the election…
You still have the opportunity to show your local elected officials that farmland matters to you, even after the votes have been counted. Consider attending local council meetings and talking to your local elected officials throughout their term!