Soil health is essential for ensuring the long-term viability of farming and sustainability of the environment. A new report from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation tells the stories of 14 farmers in the Greenbelt who are using a variety of practices to improve their soil health. Farming different crops in different regions across the Greenbelt, these farmers are taking leadership in protecting and conserving the rich diversity of soils in the Greenbelt that are critical to our food system.
New Report! Agricultural Advisory Committees: Recognizing the Value of Agriculture in the Golden Horseshoe
Local Agricultural Advisory Committees (AACs) provide an agricultural lens to municipal policies, plans, and processes. Produced in collaboration with the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance, this report examines the structure, challenges, and successes of AACs across the region. It highlights a number of lessons learned from AACs in the Golden Horseshoe that may be useful for existing AACs, as well as municipalities interested in establishing an AAC.
Building on an earlier study, a new report from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Agriculture Trends and Updates: Understanding the Greenbelt’s Unique Advantages, profiles the changes in agriculture in the Greenbelt from 2011 to 2016, compared to the rest of Ontario. Using Statistics Canada’s Census of Agriculture data, the report looks at key variables such as number of farms, area farmed, use of farmland, production levels, and farm revenue.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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 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.
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