The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation has a new Niagara office.
It’s an exciting time. We’re tapped into a great community and we’re here on the ground in one of the Greenbelt’s most specialized agricultural regions.
Niagara is the core producer of the province’s tender fruit and the anchor of the VQA and Ontario wine industry. It's also one of only two designated specialty crop areas in the Greenbelt (the other is the Holland Marsh). Fun Fact: More than 80% of Ontario’s acreage in tender fruit is found in the Greenbelt - the vast majority of that acreage in Niagara.
Niagara's also home to some of Canada's most diverse natural landscapes. It's got a bit of everything - from wetlands, to waterfalls, to wildlife habitats.
A lot of work goes into to protecting and supporting Niagara's agricultural land and its ecologically sensitive areas. At the Greenbelt Foundation we know that many, many, Niagarans are engaged in that project. We want to make sure we're doing our best to support them - so we got ourselves an office space and moved on in!
It’s still early days for us here – but you’ll be hearing much more from the Niagara team in the weeks and months ahead.
In the meantime, Robin Garrett, director of the new regional office, has been busy setting up shop.
We asked her to give us the rundown of what she’s been up to so far.Read more
This fall the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation launched an exciting partnership with the Toronto Star.
For 6 weeks, from September 13th to October 16th, veteran journalist John Barber penned a 6-part article series on all things Greenbelt.
Published weekly in the Saturday paper, Barber’s articles touched on everything from the Greenbelt's agricultural sector, to the state of its urban river valleys, to its ecological, political, and economic future.
Now that it's all wrapped up we wanted to make it easy for all friends to have access to each article in-full. Below we've included downloadable PDFs of each of Barber's 6 pieces.
The Toronto Star articles have been great for generating conversation about the Greenbelt’s many roles and its ongoing importance to Ontario’s future. Not only have Barber’s stories resulted in surge of signatories to our Greenbelt Pledge they've also generated lively discussions in our ongoing “Tweet-ups”.
The “Tweet-ups”, weekly hour-long Twitter conversations we’ve been hosting every Wednesday evening since the series began, use Barber’s articles as a conversation catalyst. We’ve hosted six in total, and each one's been well-attended, face-paced, and a lot of fun.
Check out the Toronto Star pieces. They'll give you a lot to think about. Promise.
*The current population of the community of Pefferlaw is 2,600 and is forecasted to grow to 3,000 by the year 2031. The October 11 article about wildlife in the Greenbelt mistakenly said the community will grow from 3,000 to 30,000. Current official forecasts estimate instead that Georgina, which contains Pefferlaw, will have a further 23,000 residents by the year 2031.
The Toronto Star issued a retraction to correct this mistake on October 29, 2014.
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.
Can our fresh food’s journey stay short for long?
Ontario’s Greenbelt farms produce a great variety and abundance of food, but certainty is not on the menu
In the second installment of a six-part series, journalist John Barber traces the food trail from the Greenbelt to our plates.
By: John Barber
The view from the hills near the village of Enniskillen is gorgeous in every direction, and on a clear day from some heights you can see a miniature Toronto glinting romantically in the distance. But every afternoon and morning, the city extends and retracts its tentacles: Streams of cars travelling so close to one another on rural roads that from a distance they resemble metallic segmented worms nefariously strangling the open countryside.
“I've had to wait for 35 cars to pass before I can get out of my driveway,” says local farmer Eric Bowman. At 64, Bowman remembers when the best farmland east of Toronto was Scarborough. But the wave of development that engulfed those fields is now lapping at the edge of his own hilltop farm.
When Bowman finally does get out of his driveway, commuters stuck behind him fume at the pace of his tractor. “They're in a big hurry to get nowhere and I'm in a slow hurry to get somewhere,” the lifelong farmer explains. “I get a lot of one-finger waves.”
As it is on every advancing frontier of the 100-mile city, the pressure on the uplands of Durham Region is relentless: Although the extension of Highway 407 further eastward from Toronto will relieve local roads in the near term, letting Bowman and his neighbours out of their driveways, it has already removed 3,500 acres of top-quality, Greenbelt-protected agricultural land from production in Clarington, the township where they farm. And where new highways go, new development almost always follows.
“That scares me – that everything below 407 could become a city,” Bowman says.
The same week we talked, Durham council adopted a report asking the province to implement the first few dozen of the thousand cuts that will ultimately, inevitably, produce that result. All that's standing in the way is provincial legislation, the Greenbelt Act, which is due to be reviewed in 2015.
“The Greenbelt is so important to protect farmland, green space or whatever you want to call it,” Bowman adds. “But governments change, so things can happen. One signature could end it all.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2014
POSSIBILITY GROWS IN ONTARIO’S GREENBELT
New Report Highlights Unique Advantages of Agriculture in the Greenbelt
The latest study from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation captures the changes in agriculture from 2001 to 2011 and highlights the natural and locational advantages of farming in Ontario’s Greenbelt.
The report, Agriculture by the Numbers: Understanding the Greenbelt’s Unique Advantages, outlines changes in agriculture over time in the Greenbelt, compared to the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Ontario. Using data from Statistics Canada’s 2001, 2006, and 2011 Census of Agriculture, the paper looks at key variables such as number of farms, area farmed, use of farmland, production levels, and farm revenue.Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2013
GREENBELT SIGN COMMEMORATES MOUNT NEMO
New Interpretive Sign Celebrates Great Nature Close to Home
A new interpretive sign is being installed at Mount Nemo Conservation Area celebrating this gem of the Niagara Escarpment. Created by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation in partnership with Conservation Halton, the sign highlights the stunning natural beauty and productive farmland of Ontario’s Greenbelt and the Niagara Escarpment at Mount Nemo.Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2013
TORONTO, IT'S TIME TO LOVE THE RAVINES
New Campaign Showcases City’s Most Precious Resource
Today a diverse group of businesses and environmental groups launched a Love the Ravines campaign inviting Torontonians to explore, enjoy and protect these spectacular natural features. The campaign educates residents about the many social, environmental and economic benefits they deliver and inspires residents to celebrate these wild places.Read more
When I talk about the Greenbelt, or my job at the Foundation, with people who are not “in the business,” they often say “Oh, the Greenbelt. I’ve seen the signs on the highway…”Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2013
ONTARIO’S GREENBELT CONNECTS HEALTHY FORESTS & HEALTHY KIDS
New Interpretive Sign Teaches Next Generation the Benefits of Forest and Greenbelt Protection
A new interpretive sign is being installed today at the Ganaraska Forest. The sign, created by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, in partnership with the Ganaraska Forest Centre, highlights the contributions and environmental impacts of the Ganaraska Forest, part of Ontario’s Greenbelt.Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2013
FOOD AND TRAVEL TELEVISION SHOW FEATURES ONTARIO’S GOLDEN HORSESHOE
Attn: Local, Agricultural, Food, Education, Community News and Assignment Desks Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Cluster Stars in Special “Discover Canada” Trilogy of ‘Off The Beaten Palate’, Premieres June 6th.Read more
Celebrating Local Ontario Foods in Broader Public Sector Institutions
On December 15th, the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund and the first round of grantees (I’d like to tell you who they are now, but we’re saving that for 2011), celebrated bringing more local Ontario and Greenbelt foods into Broader Public Sector Institutions at the International Centre in Toronto. This ‘potluck’ style lunch brought together these industry change-makers to collaborate and share experiences. Excitement was definitely in the air and the aromas of Ontario foods tantalized our taste buds.