The annual Friend of the Greenbelt Award recognizes leaders from across the Greater Golden Horseshoe region who champion, innovate, and ensure the ongoing success of Ontario’s Greenbelt.
The 2021 recipients of the Friend of the Greenbelt Award are being recognized for innovative solutions to COVID-19 response and recovery—Conservation Ontario and Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network. Throughout the pandemic, Conservation Ontario’s 36 conservation authorities and Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network pivoted their operations in ways that continued to advance the Greenbelt’s economic, environmental, and social recovery.
Get to Know the 2021 Recipients
By adapting quickly to pandemic conditions, Conservation Ontario’s 36 conservation authorities made it possible for visitors to continue enjoying nature during COVID-19.
Greenbelt Farmers' Market Network
By quickly pivoting to an online system, the Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network helped farmers bring fresh, local food to communities in the middle of the pandemic.
Resilience and Ingenuity
“Our award recipients showed great resilience and ingenuity in order to overcome pandemic challenges, ensuring that Greenbelt benefits such as fresh healthy food and access to green spaces and active recreation opportunities could continue to be accessed at a time when residents needed them the most.”
- Edward McDonnell, CEO, Greenbelt Foundation.
Find out more about our recipients
Conservation Ontario is accepting the award on behalf of the 36 conservation authorities it represents. On an annual basis, Ontario conservation authorities see about 8 million visitors a year, but during 2020 that number rose to 10 million. A surge in visitor traffic this large has never been seen before. Conservation authorities had to work very quickly to put new protocols in place to adapt to this increased demand, and many of them developed new innovative programming such as reservation systems, a Forest Therapy Program, Storybook Walks, and a Talking Forest App. Click here to learn more about Conservation Ontario.
The Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network supports and connects markets, farmers, and shoppers around Ontario’s Greenbelt and aims to increase the success of farmers’ markets in the region. This network supported its members to go online in 2020, so that consumers could engage with their local farmers’ markets virtually, buy food from their favourite vendors, and have it delivered to safe locations. This resulted in $1.3 million in sales for Greenbelt farmers from May to December 2020 and supported 570 farmers and vendors. Click here to learn more about Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network.
To learn more about our 2020 Friend of the Greenbelt Award recipients, click here.