The Ontario Federation of Agriculture says the province is dealing with a rise within the price of farmland loss as urban sprawl swallows up land beforehand used for rising.
The farmer-led group referred to as on municipal governments and the province Saturday to raised shield farmland and meals manufacturing when planning new housing developments.
Data from the 2021 Census of Agriculture reveals Ontario is losing 319 acres of farmland every day, equal to the lack of one common household farm.
That’s a pointy enhance from the final census in 2016, when the speed of misplaced farmland within the province was 175 acres per day. In Ontario alone, solely 5 per cent of land mass contains usable farmland.
“Most farmers would agree that is fairly merely not sustainable,” mentioned Mark Reusser, vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA).
Concerns province must depend on different nations
If the province retains losing farmable land to urban sprawl and new housing developments, Reusser worries Ontario must depend on different nations for some meals, making it extra more likely to be hit by international provide chain challenges.
Reusser, who raises turkeys on a farm close to Kitchener, Ont., added that COVID-19 and the warfare in Ukraine have proven how simply provide chains might be disrupted and harassed the significance of unbiased Canadian meals manufacturing.
“Do we as a society need to be depending on another person for our meals?”
Greg Fentie, who runs a dairy farm north of Springfield, Ont., mentioned there is a direct correlation between every acre of farmland within the province and the quantity of meals equipped to Ontarians.
Less farmland might imply considerably fewer loaves of bread or baggage of Doritos on retailer cabinets.
“I’m a farmer, I’m not an urban planner … however I’ve obtained to assume there’s room within the cities to infill and to develop vertically,” mentioned Fentie.
“Not everyone must have a subdivision home.”
OFA calling on authorities to solely use MZOs ‘sparingly’
OFA president Peggy Brekveld mentioned the group understands the province must accommodate progress and is not asking for growth to cease.
“What we’re saying is to construct in the appropriate locations by long-term strategic land-use planning,” Brekveld mentioned in a launch.
Ontario has a “fairly good” planning historical past and course of, mentioned Reusser, however Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs), which permit the federal government to expedite growth and use land wherever within the province, can be utilized to bypass processes supposed to guard farmland.
The OFA want to see authorities use of MZOs occur “very sparingly, solely when completely vital and, more often than not, throughout the urban envelope as a substitute of within the countryside,” Reusser mentioned.
Farmland itself is finite, however generally is a perpetual useful resource for meals, when handled effectively, he added.
“Corn, beans and squash have been produced right here on Ontario soils for greater than 1,000 years by Indigenous peoples.”