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About the farmland that the "Cameron Project" will destroy
There are two agricultural properties that will be destroyed if this project is approved (see photo above):
1. 144 Ranchers Road (bottom of above photo) is a mixed use farm with cropland, pastures for grazing, wetlands and woodland. This diversified landscape enables the possibility of meat production alongside large-scale crops, all while maintaining biodiversity. In the past, this farm has also been used for market gardening and seedling production. The loss of this farm will mean the loss of a farm that has contributed both to the local economy and local biodiversity. To see a video of this farm click here.
2. The second farm (top of above photo) is zoned Agricultural and is made up of a rare land form called an alvar. Alvar's are home to many rare species of plants and animals. The grazing of cattle on alvars mimic the beneficial grazing of wild animals on this landform and enhance its biodiversity, as a result this land is uniquely suited for grazing cattle. This farm is a perfect example of agriculture and biodiversity co-existing for mutual benefit.
For more the environmental importance of this land, click here.
Concerns about Loss of Farmland
The loss of Ontario Farmland to development has become a priority in the Kawartha Lakes recently for three reasons:
1. Food supply chains are increasingly fragile.
Disruptions have been caused to global supply chains both by Covid-19 and by increasing instability in weather patterns. This has led to an emphasis on local suppliers as a way to ensure food security going forward. Local farmers need local farmland.
For more on this point see:
Ontario Chamber of Commerce Report: Growing a More Resilient Food Supply Chain in Ontario.
Press release on the report: "Government must Act Now to Strengthen Canada's Supply Chain: Chamber Report".
The farm at 144 Ranchers Road
2. Farmland is a non-renewable resource.
Fertile arable land cannot be replaced once it is lost. Using such land for housing, or for a golf course in an area already saturated with golf courses, is irresponsible. According to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, "the highest and best use of our arable land is for agriculture. Land capable of supporting agricultural activity is a strategic non-renewable resource worthy of preserving as it ensures a safe, sustainable supply of food, fibre and fuel for Ontario, Canada and the world."
See more from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture here.
See more on the rapid decline of agricultural land in Ontario here and here.
Pasture and crop at 144 Ranchers Rd.
3. Food insecurity is higher in the Kawartha Lakes than in the rest of the province.
According to the Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition's Food Security Working Group, one way to combat food security is by providing better access to local food. Local farmland is essential to maintaining a healthy local food system.
For more information see Food Insecurity in the Kawartha Lakes one of Highest in Province.
The farm at 144 Ranchers Road
4. Agricultural land is being lost very quickly in Ontario due to an increased use of Ministerial Zoning Orders.
Local Official plans provide long term strategies for balancing the need for increased housing and the ongoing need for agricultural lands. In the last number of years the use of Ministerial Zoning Orders has meant that municipal official plans have had their plans to retain agricultural lands over-ruled by MZOs, enabling developers to develop farmlands at an ever-increasing rate. Flato regularly uses MZOs to overturn official plans. For more on MZOs, click here.
5. Farmland is not necessary for development.
Planners are increasingly discovering new and innovative ways that housing can be increased, within urban boundaries, even in already existing cities.
This article outlines some of these innovative strategies in relation to Hamilton.
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