Learn about why Heather, our awesome volunteer, cares about farmland and agriculture in Ontario in her latest blog!
Something I don’t often think about is the significance of agriculture to my family. As someone who’s goal is to become a planner, my initial interest in land use planning had stemmed from my daily observations of urban sprawl in my small, suburban town.
The more time that I have spent volunteering with this organization, the more I have come to realize how significant local agriculture is to my family.
All three farming households in my family contribute a significant amount to their local communities. One household owns a hay farm, selling their bales each year to local businesses and other local farmers. A second household owns a small-scale beef cattle farm, which not only contributes a considerable amount to the local economy through their sales, but also brings themselves joy as they go through the annual process of raising young calves. The third farming household in my family owns an orchard, which largely produces apples. They have a functioning produce stand on their property to sell their produce along with other baked goods, much of their produce gets sold to local grocery stores.
Something I recently learned was that 62% of farms in Canada make less than $100,000 annually1. In addition to understanding the local impacts of my family’s work, it is evident that small scale farms, including my family’s farms, contribute a great deal to the agri-food sector.
As a future planner, I hope to contribute what I can to protect farms and agriculture land for all farming families, including my own.
I am fortunate to be directly connected to local agriculture through my family, but everyone can make a connection with local agriculture by supporting your local farmers at farmers’ markets, through CSA programs, and by trying to buy Ontario-grown food whenever possible. You can’t farm without farmland, and when you support your local farmers, large and small scale, you also support local farmland.
1. Small Scale Food Manitoba Working Group. (2015). Advancing the small scale, local food sector in Manitoba: a path forward. https://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/food-and-ag-processing/pubs/small-scale-food-report.pdf