"News of increasing food prices in Canada have helped to temper enthusiasm for 2016. The University of Guelph’s Food Institute estimates the average Canadian household spent an $325 more in 2015. This year, you should expect an additional annual increase of about $345—about the price of 70 bags of milk.
As mentioned in your story, we can avoid the impact of some of these price spikes by buying more locally grown and produced food. However, the continuing pressure to Simcoe’s productive farmland from urban sprawl risks threatening our local food supply.
In Midhurst, almost 2,000 acres of some of the best farmland is at risk of being paved over for 10,000 homes. Other small rural communities such as Everett also risk having their farmland destroyed for needless sprawl.
A recent report by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and Environmental Defence found three-quarters of the best farmland in the Greater Golden Horseshoe — which includes Simcoe — is at risk of being swallowed up by unsustainable growth. This report, authored by some of the brightest planners, agricultural experts and environmentalists, highlights our need to take action now before it is too late.
This is why it makes perfect sense that Ted McMeekin, Ontario’s Minister responsible for the Greenbelt Plan, wants to grow the Greenbelt to provide similar protections and long-term certainty for our food security and rural communities.
And he’s not alone.
According to recent Environics polling results, about 96 per cent of respondents in rural communities believe the Greenbelt should be expanded to protect our farmland, water supply, and our natural heritage sites.
With the province’s Greenbelt Plan review underway, let’s take this opportunity to permanently protect the farmland that feeds our communities, the forests that keep our air fresh, and the water systems that filter our drinking water. Let Premier Wynne know that we need to grow the Greenbelt into Simcoe County.
Jim Partridge, president, Simcoe County Federation of Agriculture
Margaret Prophet, co-chairperson, Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition"