A healthy and robust local food system is dependant on farmers having access to high quality farmland. Yet across Ontario, development pressures have permanently removed millions of acres of fertile farmland. The traditional handing down of farms within families is on the wane while the cost of farmland for new and would-be farmers continues to rise. Resulting pressures on our food system present us with complex challenges — challenges that demand new and creative integrated approaches.
Places to Farm: Alternative practices and policies for Ontario’s changing agricultural landscape, by Metcalf Fellow Dr Sally Miller, explores the link between strong regional food systems and land use policies in southern Ontario. Based on extensive research including interviews with over 50 farmers, planners, and representatives from government and non-profits, Miller’s paper lays out the extent of the challenge we face. She identifies seven areas where innovative and strategic action could enable access to land and sustainable food production for new and existing farmers both now and long term.