Prevent Ontario’s food and farms from disappearing forever.

Based on data from the Census of Agriculture, Ontario is losing 175 acres of farmland every day to urban development.

It’s a concerning number. Roughly the size of 135 football fields. Every day.

Whether you are talking about your morning toast, an apple in your lunch or grilled chicken for dinner, it all comes from Ontario farmland.

We get it – urban development matters. But where our food comes from matters too.

  acres

=

5 family farms every week

Once farmland is paved over,
it’s gone forever.

A red apple Cob of corn with husk Red bell pepper Bowl of Cereal Full glass of milk Two cuts of cooked steak with garnish Two brown eggs One red strawberry A bunch of purple grapes A red vine tomato Two pods of peas Cob of corn with husk

What kind of food and farms are we talking about?

Although Ontario farmers do a lot with a little, only about 5% of land in the province can actually produce food.

More than 200 different fruits, vegetables, grains and livestock are grown or raised right here at home.

The land that supports this food production is a finite resource1. It needs to be protected now.

Domestic food production is so important. It’s safe, sustainable and protects vital creatures like bees and wildlife from losing habitats we share.

But how does urban development impact all of this?

Once a farm is turned into a shopping centre, or warehouse, or subdivision, it will never produce food again. We lose the food that was grown on that land - permanently.

Cities need to grow. We get that. But it’s time planners and developers started looking in and up before they look out.

And let’s not forget the significant impact urban sprawl has on the environment2. Significant wetlands, key shorelines and forests are threatened by the urbanization pressures we’re facing that encourage sprawl. We need to ensure the highest level of protection for our landscapes and water before we lose it to over-development.

The pandemic taught us the importance of local production; we are competing globally for PPE and vaccines. Do we want to do the same with our food?

MZO

Minister’s
Zoning Orders

How did we get to this point?

The government has a big say over where and how urban development happens. MZOs (Minister’s Zoning Orders) exacerbate the problem, bypassing long-standing processes intended to protect farmland3.

MZOs are being used today more than ever.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, an MZO has been used 6 times to rezone farmland for an urban use. This is added pressure Ontario farmers simply don’t need.

Our 

environment.

farms.

food.

health.

environment.

wildlife.

future.

They’re all connected.

So, what are our options? What can be done?

The answer is quite straightforward. We need to ensure we have the land to grow food for today and for future generations.

What we need to do is:

  1. Protect the finite resource where our food grows.
  2. Have people like you help us advocate for protecting our food sources.

”The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.“

– Will Rodgers

Here are five facts you need to know about agriculture and farmland in Ontario.

1

Agriculture and agri-food processing is the Number 1 economic diver in Ontario — it contributes $47 billion to provincial economy and supports more than 860,000 jobs.

2

Ontario farmers grow or raise more than 200 fruits, vegetables, grains and livestock for food, fuel and fibre.

3

Less than five per cent of Ontario’s land base can support agricultural production — and once it is lost to urban development, it is lost forever.

4

Ontario has lost more than 1.5 million acres of productive farmland since 1996 — roughly the combined size of Toronto, Peel Region, Halton Region, Waterloo Region, Hamilton and Niagara Region.

5

Based on data from the last Census of Agriculture, Ontario is losing 175 acres of productive farmland every day to urban development. That is the equivalent of 135 football fields, or five family farms every week.

Help us protect our farms and food forever.