Every Sunday from September 14th to October 17th we'll be publishing a Greenbelt-focused article by veteran Toronto Star journalist John Barber. The articles, which will first run in the Toronto Star on the Saturdays preceding our posts, cover a range of topics relevant to the Greenbelt as it exists today, and to the challenges it may face in the future. On the Wednesdays following each of Barber's articles, we'll be using his pieces as a conversation catalyst in an evening Twitter Party from 8pm to 9pm.
Toronto Star Series: How green is the municipal election landscape?
by John Barber
Twenty years ago I attended a presentation in Toronto given by an eminent Dutch policy maker on his country's Groene Hart or Green Heart, a huge swath of open countryside hemming in the booming cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, protecting by iron decree the landscape of Rembrandt in the very thick of the most densely populated region of Europe's most densely populated nation.
I wondered aloud whether a similar initiative might one day rescue the rapidly receding countryside surrounding our own Golden Horseshoe.
“No,” the expert replied without hesitating. “It is not possible.” He knew the local ground as well as anyone, and during those dark days nothing was more sacred in Ontario than the right to sprawl. We all nodded our heads in sad agreement.
Performers at the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic, 2014. From left to right: Laura Cole, Ron Sexsmith, Sarah Harmer.
Not to brag, but I had a pretty packed Saturday.
I saw almost a dozen great performers live. I visited over 20 booths at one of the largest farmers' markets I've been to. I learnt how to identify stink bugs (hint: they smell like coriander). And I even went for a rainy-day swim.
Rock stars, farmers' markets, horticulture lessons and swimming—it might seem like an odd mix. But at the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic, all these things share a common greenbelt ground.Read more
From left to right: Kat Snukal, Alexandra Lucchesi, Jessica Schmidt, and Josh Bentley-Swan, our new staff.
Autumn always feels like a season of grand change to me. I believe it’s all the years of institutionalized education compounding and weighing in on my subconscious, telling me that September spells the end of summer and the start of nose-in-book time.
It is a season of grand change here in the office, however. I am happy to introduce some of our newest Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation employees.Read more
Sarah Harmer performs at the 2014 Greenbelt Harvest Picnic.
At the end of August, we celebrated our fourth annual Greenbelt Harvest Picnic. Put on by Daniel Lanois and September Seventh Entertainment, the day was a celebration of music, food, and art.
While the music was front and centre, the many farmers, food vendors, artisans, and NGOs added a unique flavour that I can only see at the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic. From the most flavourful garlic to the juiciest grape tomatoes, you would not find the usual “burger and fries” fare at this event.Read more
I'm not known to be a fashionable guy. I've been known to wear shirts inside out (accidentally!) and I have been told that shorts are not professional work attire.
But my respect for ethically- and environmentally-made clothing is prevalent. Despite my relaxed attitude about professional attire, I am interested in where my wardrobe comes from, and Patagonia's mandate and activism are worthy of recognition.Read more
This August, I had the pleasure of joining more than two thousand cyclists from Quebec on a tour of the Niagara Region. Visiting for the Grand Tour Desjardins 2014, one of the largest organized multi-day cycling tours in Canada, cyclists enjoyed mobile bike shops, shuttle service, full catering, and even massages! The Grand Tour really is the apex of cycling holidays. Plus, this year all of these tourists took their bicycle holiday in the Greenbelt.Read more
Greenbelt by Numbers. Credit: Touchwood Design
We take financial duties seriously and as a charity we are diligent in spending our donations and contributions.
So we aim for, and are proud of, keeping our administrative outlays to less than six per cent of expenses. We do this with tight cost-controls, exhausting volunteer and job-creation positions, applying multiple accounting reins, and by always negotiating a substantial charitable discount.Read more
Greenbelt Foundation staff at our annual staff retreat
Over the years, the environmental movement has consisted primarily of white, middle class folks and hasn’t really reflected the Canadian diaspora of multicultural backgrounds. This has led to criticism that the movement is exclusive and not prepared to build diversity into its work.Read more
The Greenbelt booth at the Picnic provides insight and information about the Greenbelt and how to get involved.
Photo Credit: Melanie Schade, 2013.
Now in its fourth year, the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic has been called one of the 10 best outdoor music shows by the Globe and Mail.
But it's more than a music show. It's a celebration of food and farming. It's an opportunity to be active in a gorgeous conservation area. And it’s a chance to spend a day with family and friends.Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 30, 2014
MAKING NATURAL CONNECTIONS ACROSS ONTARIO'S GREENBELT
Innovative Projects Support Farmers, Environment, Economy, and More
From guided tours and workshops in Northumberland County to engaging landowners in Hamilton-Burlington’s Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark, the latest projects from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation continue to support the viability and protection of Ontario's vast and world-leading Greenbelt.Read more