Understanding How Greenbelt Agriculture Feeds the Regional Economy and Greenbelt Farmers: Economic Network Case Studies

Understanding How Greenbelt Agriculture Feeds the Regional Economy is a new study that details the significant contribution of agriculture in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) to other sectors of the economy. Home to a quarter of Canada’s population and responsible for two thirds of Ontario’s economic activity, the GGH is essential to the province of Ontario. Within the GGH is another important region, the Greenbelt.

Feb 28, 2022   •   Featured , Research

Created with support from the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance, two new Greenbelt Foundation reports provide rare insight into the economic impacts and life histories of Greenbelt Farmers. The first report, titled Understanding How Greenbelt Agriculture Feeds the Regional Economy, details agriculture’s economic contribution to the Greenbelt and Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH). The second report, titled Greenbelt Farmers: Economic Network Case Studies, focuses on qualitative case studies of seven local Greenbelt farms.  

Understanding How Greenbelt Agriculture Feeds the Regional Economy

Within the GGH is an important region: the Greenbelt. Ontario's Greenbelt includes natural spaces and productive farmland that have been protected under the 2005 Greenbelt Plan. This study, conducted by Summit72, builds on an earlier economic analysis and provides evidence that highlights the importance of agriculture to the region’s overall economic health and supports the continued protection of the Greenbelt.

Key Findings:

  • In 2020, the Greenbelt's agri-food sector generated an estimated $4.1 billion in GDP and close to 59,000 jobs.
  • Within the Greenbelt alone, farm purchases of goods and services were valued at $900 million in 2017, with over 70 per cent of this economic activity taking place hyper-locally within the GGH. This data indicates that Greenbelt farmers are developing business relationships with not only local farm input providers, but also other professional business support services such as accountants, lawyers, and financial institutions.

A strong agriculture sector presents opportunities for growth in other areas of the economy— contributing to business diversity and a more resilient overall economic environment. As a result of agricultural activity, economic benefits ripple through the economy and have a positive effect on people and businesses beyond the boundaries of the Greenbelt.

To learn more, read the full report:


Greenbelt Farmers: Economic Network Case Studies

This report presents a series of case studies that highlight the economic contributions, diversity, breadth, and interconnected nature of agricultural and agri-food systems in the Greenbelt and the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

These case studies are based on interviews with seven farmers who represent a variety of commodities, different farm types, and sizes of operation across the Greenbelt. Develop a better understanding of Greenbelt's agri-food system and its contribution to the economy through the stories of Almet Farms, Grimo Nut Nursery, Eek Farms, Tomar Farms, Kauzlaric Family Farms, Ovino Farms, and Joe Loewith and Sons Ltd.

To find out more about the farmers, read the full report:


Together, the case studies and economic analysis tell the story of the complexity of the agricultural and agri-food sector in the Greenbelt and Greater Golden Horseshoe, its relationships with other sectors, and the value of agriculture and agri-food businesses to the region’s economy. 

Interested in learning more about how we support food and farming the Greenbelt? Find out here.