grazing animals pasture

Update from the Field

Ontario’s farmland provides us with food, fuel, fibre, flowers, and a vast array of ecosystem services. 

Over the past few months OFT staff have been busy monitoring protected properties, and preparing reports about the properties we are in the process of protecting. (Try saying that three times fast!)

While visiting these farms, we have been lucky to witness many different types of wildlife using the farmland and natural habitat. Check out last month’s blog to read more about them. This month, we focus on the food that we have seen being produced on these protected farms across Ontario. 

Focus on the Food: For Both Humans and Animals

A number of permanently protected farms are being used to produce cash crops like corn, soybeans, and wheat. These crops are used to produce food for both humans and animals, and the biomass they produce that isn’t used for food can be used for biofuel or returned to the soil to increase organic matter1. The grains growing on one of our protected farms are actually being milled on-site for local use! 

We have also witnessed a number of farms being used for hay production and as pasture. Pastures and hay fields provide great habitat for grassland species, and the horses, llamas, alpacas, sheep, and beef cows all seemed to be greatly enjoying their time on them as well. Did you know that grazing animals can actually help improve soil health and sequester carbon2? The use of rotational grazing practices can enhance these benefits, so we are super happy to report that some of our protected farmland is being managed this way! 

We have also seen a plethora of fruits and vegetables being produced on these protected farms. From currants, to cherries, apples, blueberries, and even pumpkins, the farmland we protect helps provide local flavor to your plate.

Check out recent photos from our monitoring visits by following us on Instagram and Facebook! If you would like to help us protect more farmland, please consider making a donation.