An Eye To The Future
In 2006 the David Suzuki Foundation released a document called “Forever Farmland” in which they examined the state of the Agricultural Land Reserve.
The Land Reserve provides a variety of services including food security by having fresh produce in close proximity to large communities. The report made the following recommendations:
- Revise the Agricultural Land Commission Act to endure consistent and clear commitment to protect agricultural land
- A more open and accountable application process for removals, subdivisions and non farm use of ALR lands.
- The provincial government must undertake or facilitate research on a wide range of factors likely to impair the viability of farming now and in the future.
- The provincial government must develop policies that contribute to the health of communities and the environment.
Municipalities and provincial governments must plan to protect existing agricultural land as a permanent legacy for future generations. A view points research public opinion survey in 1997 found that 90% of BC residents felt government should limit urban development to protect farmers and farmland.
Protecting farmland has a number of important benefits :
- Food Security- making sure that food is available for future generations.
- Biodiversity- actively used farmland is often good habitat for migratory birds and other animals.
- Less Energy Intensive- producing food close to home reduces the greenhouse gas emissions needed to bring food from farm to table, ex. Eating an apple in BC that is grown in BC releases about 87% fewer greenhouse gasses.
- Jobs- one study in Ontario estimated that 50,000 new jobs would be created if consumption of local foods was equal to 1970 levels.
- Food Quality- the less food has to travel means that the food will be fresher.
This document was done by the world renowned David Suzuki Foundation and as such should be taken very seriously by all provincial governments as well. Protecting farmland should be a country wide priority and must be done in order to supply food for the growing number of people in this country. Let’s remember that “farmers feed cities” is a fact of life, unlike one woman in Toronto who believed she could grow her food for the year on the roof of her apartment building. It is people like this woman who believe that they don’t need farmers to survive. They are sadly misinformed and are a danger to the quality of life not only in Ontario but all of Canada.
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