Farmland Forever: Preserving a Sense of Place for Ontarians Now and Forever
Have you been driving through the countryside in the past couple of months? With spectacular fall views of trees changing colour, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and farmers harvesting their crops it’s easy to see how farmland brings a sense of identity to Ontarians. However, the agriculture and agri-food industry does a lot more than just provide a sense of place for those that call this province home. Ontario farmland can produce over 200 commodities including tender fruit, vegetable crops, livestock, grains and oilseeds. These industries also provide 700,000 jobs and contribute $34 billion to Ontario’s economy.
Farmland within the Province is under pressure from urbanization; the Census of Agriculture states that Ontario loses 350 acres of farmland every day. Population growth within the Greater Golden Horseshoe, a region that contains two-thirds of Ontario’s population, also exerts intense development pressure on local farmland. A study completed by the Ontario Farmland Trust and the University of Guelph found that if we continue to lose our farmland and population continues to grow, the Province will lose its ability to be food self-sufficient within next 20 years and become more dependent on food imports.
Preserving farmland is important within this Province. Ontario Farmland Trust’s programs, like the Farmland Protection program, work towards preserving this important and irreplaceable resource. We do this by working with individual land owners to ensure their properties will forever be protected as farmland. We also work with provincial and municipal planners to better address agriculture and farmland preservation within planning and policy development. Check out our most recent policy submission to the Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review by clicking here.
The work of Ontario Farmland Trust helps to support rural communities, the agricultural industry, and to build the agricultural identity and ‘sense of place’ all Ontarians reflect on, especially during this time of year.