As we begin to look forward to the year ahead, it is also important to review and reflect on the year that just finished.
In 2022, OFT experienced some significant changes. While we said goodbye to staff who were moving on to new positions, we gained a new Executive Director, Martin, and an Outreach and Education Assistant, Tamara! Martin and Tamara have brought unending expertise on a variety of topics to OFT, and we are so happy to call them a part of our team.
We also hosted another virtual, and very successful, Farmland Forum that drew over 200 attendees from around Ontario, Canada, and even as far away as Norway. We heard from a variety of experts on climate change, food security, on-farm diversification, and land use planning, resulting in a great day of professional learning. To read more about that day, check out our recap blog. Also, be sure to keep your eye out for more details on the 2023 Farmland Forum: Planning to Save the Soil, coming soon!
We protected an additional 210 acres of farmland in Prince Edward County with the completion of the Bazett-Jones Farm Project. The protection of these two properties brought OFT over the milestone of 2500 permanently protected acres.
The two Bazett-Jones properties are adjacent to each other, and contribute to a growing cluster of permanently protected farms in Prince Edward County. In addition to the rich agricultural land and regenerative agricultural practices taking place on it, these farms also offer abundant habitat for wildlife, with woodlots, wetlands and even open grasslands. Several species-at-risk such as Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Monarch butterflies and Butternut trees can be found making use of the habitat on these farms.
OFT was also busy with policy items this year, submitting a total of ten independent policy recommendations. Many of these recommendations were related to the controversial Bill 23, and OFT also signed on to a letter with 125 other organizations against Bill 23 in addition to our own submissions. To learn more about OFT’s response to Bill 23, click here. If you would like to read all of OFT’s policy submissions, click here.
In 2022 OFT was able to attend more in-person events to speak with people interested in farmland protection, as the world slowly started to open up. We attended Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, and spoke with members of the agricultural industry, farmers, and farmland owners about the importance of protecting farmland. We also held an event to celebrate the protection of the Brechin Brae Farm, where the landowners were able to celebrate this accomplishment with friends, family, and neighbours.
Looking back on our accomplishments, and reflecting on the support we receive from our generous supporters, we are feeling refreshed and excited for the year ahead. We have big plans coming up, and without you our work to protect Ontario’s farmland for future generations would not be possible.
Thank you for your support in 2022, and let’s work together to make 2023 an even bigger year for farmland protection!