New Report! Ontario's Good Fortune: Appreciating the Greenbelt's Natural Capital

A new report, Ontario’s Good Fortune: Appreciating the Greenbelt’s Natural Capital from Green Analytics and Sustainable Prosperity finds that in addition to storing over $11.17B of carbon, the Greenbelt provides $3.2B annually in ecosystem services to the region. The report, commissioned by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, assessed the value of final services provided by the Greenbelt that Ontario residents benefit from.



Natural Capital 101

Understanding the value of our natural capital is vital to making informed, responsible decisions. This primer explains what natural capital valuation is and how it works.



Plan to Achieve - A Review of the Land Needs Assessment Process and the Implementation of the Growth Plan


A new report in the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation Occasional Papers reviews the Growth Plan and other land use policies, and finds that a flawed approach to Land Needs Assessments (LNA) is leading to continued sprawl which is undermining the Growth Plan.


Natural Heritage Features Mapping: Challenges and Best Practice


pdf-icon.pngNatural Heritage Features Mapping: Challenges and Best Practices (480KB)

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation completed a study to understand the process by which natural heritage features (NHF) are mapped and communicated to the public by municipalities in Ontario. This was in response to issues raised by Greenbelt stakeholders, mainly within the agricultural sector, who are affected by inaccuracies in Official Plan mapping schedules for natural heritage features. 


Farmers' Market: Tracking Market Farmer and Vendor Performance 2009-2015


 pdf-icon.pngFarmers' Market: Tracking Market Farmer and Vendor Performance 2009-2015
 (1 MB)


In 2015, the Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network (GBFMN) collaborated with Informa Market Research, visiting 30 network markets and interviewing 82 farmers, as well as 26 other market vendors. Results were compared with GBFMN’s 2009 survey to learn about growth and change in the sector. This study is intended to assist farmers’ market vendors and organizers, and inspire the interest and support of market shoppers and funders.


Farmland at Risk


pdf-icon.pngFarmland At Risk (4 MB)

Farming in the Greater Golden Horseshoe has important economic and ecological benefits. Farmland at Risk, co-produced by Environmental Defence and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, calls for improved land-use planning that views farmland as essential to the region – not as development land-in-waiting. The report outlines that Ontario needs to do a better job protecting farmland and helping farmers thrive.


Greenbelt Farmers: Sowing the Seeds of Success


The latest research from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation focuses on nine successful farming operations within Ontario’s nearly two million acres of permanently protected Greenbelt.


Building a resilient tender fruit industry in Ontario


 pdf-icon.png Building a resilient tender fruit industry in Ontario 

The Ontario Tender Fruit Lab (a project of MaRS Solutions Lab and the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience) convened 35 participants at a series of three workshops in the Niagara region to discuss the future of Ontario's tender fruit industry.

As a supporter and participant in this process, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation staff worked with other stakeholder participants to strategize the best ways to bring about change in the Ontario tender fruit industry within the entire value network.

The resulting report, Building a Resilient Tender Fruit Industry outlines the shared strategy and interventions that emerged from the three workshops. Have a look to see what the future of tender fruit in Ontario could look like and read about the interventions are already being made by networks of local food champions!





The Agricultural System: Components, Linkages, and Rationale


It is well understood that it takes more than protecting the land base to ensure the long term viability of agriculture in the Greenbelt. Sustaining agriculture means sustaining the broader agriculture system. 

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation commissioned Dr. Wayne Caldwell to develop a more robust definition of agriculture system and its component parts. The Agricultural System: Components, Linkages, and Rationale, identifies what is necessary for a well-functioning agricultural system and a viable agricultural industry. It allows municipal staff and others who interact with agricultural communities to better understand how their work impacts the functioning of the entire system, in turn affecting individual farmers.



Local Leadership Matters: Ontario Municipalities Taking Action to Strengthen the Greenbelt


 pdf-icon.png Local Leadership Matters: Ontario Municipalities Taking Action to Strengthen the Greenbelt

The latest research from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation looks at a mix of initiatives and tools 30 municipalities are using to enhance Ontario’s Greenbelt.

The report, Local Leadership Matters: Ontario Municipalities Taking Action to Strengthen the Greenbelt, surveyed dozens of municipal officials. The results emphasize the many ways communities are directly and indirectly helping to achieve the objectives of the Greenbelt—enhancing valuable natural heritage sites, supporting agriculture, increasing tourism, and strengthening local economies.

Examples of municipal projects include:

  • The County of Northumberland established a 15,000 square foot local food processing and training facility to help farmers diversify and expand their businesses.

  • The Town of Aurora calculated that the total economic value of its natural assets, such as woodlands and wetlands, are worth about $7.4 million annually.

  • The Region of Peel offers funding of up to 50 per cent to assist conservation partners in securing additional natural areas for environmental and recreational purposes—with nearly 900 acres purchased since 2005.

  • The Municipality of Clarington launched the Trees for Rural Roads program to restore tree-lined rural roads by planting Maples throughout the community. Since 2012, the municipality and property owners have planted 2,300 trees.

  • An Explore the Bruce Adventure Passport, created by Bruce County, involves an annual scavenger hunt that encourages residents and cottagers to visit the scenic natural features and other tourist attractions across the County. To date, nearly 70,000 people have participated in exploring the Bruce.

  • The Town of Lincoln is becoming a Centre of Excellence for Agriculture

 For more background see our 2011 report, The Living Greenbelt