(Toronto, Ontario) – Today is the anniversary of one of Ontario’s most important resources, the Greenbelt. To celebrate the event, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation invited supporters to congregate at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto and enjoy their lunch outdoors. As the largest urban centre near the Greenbelt, Torontonians can be thankful for many of the services the Greenbelt provides including local food, clean water and millions of acres of recreational space. Hundreds of Greenbelt-grown apples donated by Algoma Orchards were distributed to those who came out for the occasion.
“While February may seem like an odd time to celebrate the Greenbelt, it is a proud day for everyone who enjoys local food, clean water and fresh air,” said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “As I see it, the Greenbelt was the spark that lit the local food movement on fire in southern Ontario.”
Over 50 per cent of the Greenbelt’s 1.8 million acres is agricultural land. Farm sales from the region total $1.5 billion every year, making the Greenbelt an important player in Ontario’s economy.
Over the past seven years, the Foundation has been actively supporting local farmers with research and impact studies, grants to the agricultural community, building distribution infrastructure, and promoting agricultural tourism. Projects like Ontariofresh.ca, an online marketplace for local producers, buyers and distributors, is just one example of the vital and tangible work the Foundation brings to the table.
Now in its seventh year, it is time to make February 28th the official Greenbelt Day. Foundation grantee, the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance, has contacted Greenbelt municipalities to request their support in making an official Greenbelt Day declaration. Municipalities in favour of this declaration include the City of Toronto and the Town of Ajax.
“For seven years, Ontario’s Greenbelt, envied all over the world, has protected our green spaces, local food, air and water from unsustainable sprawl,” said Shiloh Bouvette, Program Manager of the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance. “I look forward to the day when the next generation will celebrate 70 years of Greenbelt legacy in Ontario.
Following Greenbelt Day, the Royal Ontario Museum opens their new Greenbelt space in the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity. Hosted by the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance and Environmental Defence, the new space will feature fun, hands-on activities that highlight the important role people play in protecting biodiversity and agricultural lands from urban sprawl. It will be open each Wednesday in March, and all through March break (March 10th to 18th) from 11am to 4pm.
Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation:
Ontario’s Greenbelt is over 1.8 million acres of green space, farmland, vibrant communities, forests, wetlands, and watersheds – all permanently protected by world-leading legislation. In return, the Greenbelt gives back much to Ontario, providing $5.4 billion to Ontario’s economy through farming and food production, and $2.6 billion in ecosystem services annually.
The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is working to help farmers in the Greenbelt be more successful; to protect and enhance natural features; and to strengthen local economies. To learn more about the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, please visit greenbelt.ca
For more information or an interview please contact:
(416) 960-0001, ext. 307
eberrigan-at-greenbelt dot ca
Acting Communications Director
(416) 960-0001, ext. 311