The Greenbelt serves an important function as a natural air filter. The Ontario Medical Association estimates the costs of air pollution in Ontario to be 5,800 premature deaths, 17,000 hospital admittances, 60,000 emergency room visits, and a total of $7,800,000,000 in health care cost, lost work time, and productivity.
Raising awareness of the Greenbelt’s value is one of the most important steps in protecting it. Ontario Nature has led the way by performing outreach and education to local leaders and the public on the beneficial health values associated with the Greenbelt.
Showcasing the efforts of farmers and community volunteers to steward the land is a proud and productive opportunity. In partnership with the Ontario College of Family Physicians. Ontario Nature is creating booklets to highlight the significance of a farmer’s work to protecting the Greenbelt’s water resources, forests, and unique habitats, and to link rural and urban residents with the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle the Greenbelt has to offer.
The Caledon Countryside Alliance is working to raise awareness of the importance and value of the countryside. Its “Paint the Town Green through Community Mapping” project is a Caledon-wide community mapping undertaking that incorporates and shares the stories and knowledge of the local landscape. The map helps residents better understand and support these areas and make Caledon a more sustainable community. Closing the gap between people and their natural environment can build a spirit of pride and inspire responsibility for the natural landscape, which possesses valuable ecological good and services.
The Farm to School pilot project reconnects urban students and rural farmers in Peel Region through farm visits, local food celebrations and a local, healthy snack program for elementary schools. Food is sourced from Greenbelt farms, helping to strengthen linkages between schools and farmers. The pilot is expected to heighten awareness amongst students about local food and the Greenbelt
The project contributes to the development of three new seasonal farmers' markets in under-serviced neighbourhoods in Hamilton, by researching market models, local need and farmer interests. The research is expected to identify opportunities to expand consumer markets for area Greenbelt farmers to sell/deliver their produce in the Hamilton region, while consumers are encouraged to buy locally-farmed food.
The Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (CIELAP), a research not-for-profit organization, looked at greenbelts across North America as well as in international jurisdictions such as England, the Netherlands and Germany, producing a report on best practices and lessons learned of managing and sustaining greenbelts into the future.
The annual fair, featuring agriculture, arts and music, is celebrating its 150thanniversary. Once a year, the community comes together to share, celebrate and foster their rural legacy with events like the Port Perry Agricultural Heritage Parade and activities like the Agricultural Heritage Tent. The Port Perry High School cheerleading team and the Port Perry Rebels serve as ambassadors for the Fair, bringing with them their youthful energy and enthusiasm. This vibrant Greenbelt community event looks forward to its next 150 years.
OSEA will work with the Ontario Power Authority to make recommendations for a Standard Offer Contract program and run a Greenbelt-wide public awareness campaign. The project is needed to pave the way for ten renewable power projects in the Greenbelt, generating 100 megawatts of electricity. This requires consultations with farmers, farming associations, municipalities and rural cooperatives, in order to develop recommendations that provide incentives to entice generators to build locally-owned green power facilities and sell their excess energy capacity to the grid.
The project aims to raise conservation awareness among landowners in the Hamilton and Halton areas using over 6,000 brochures distributed at community meetings, presentations, displays and through project partners. It will educate landowners on the advantages and importance of land conservation.
AGCare provides science and policy research on environmental and agricultural issues in Ontario, and is forming collaborative relationships between the farming and trail communities to increase awareness of agricultural stewardship.
Colourful signage is created and erected throughout trails in the Greenbelt to communicate to hikers about the environmental stewardship activities and best management practices of farmers. Messages about the Greenbelt are incorporated into the text, with an overarching aim of increasing public awareness and recognition of farmers’ contributions to the environment.
Initiated in 2005 on a platform of farming reform to increase the industry’s viability, Local Food Plus certification system incorporates economic, environmental and social issues and opens new markets for Canadian farmers.
This project catapults local, sustainably produced food into the public consciousness in Ontario. Consumers are recognizing the label in their universities and grocery stores, and vendors and shoppers alike are recognizing the value of what it means to buy from certified farmers and processors: that the food is produced using environmentally and socially responsible growing practices.