“The opportunities are endless here,” Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee executive director Janet Horner told members of the region’s planning committee. “The largest landowner in the greenbelt is the farmer.”
That’s contrary to perceptions urbanization might make food processing and farming a losing bet in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, action committee chairperson Nick Ferri said.
Increasingly, urban residents are seeing local food as a foundation for healthy living, he said.
The pair was on hand to ask the region’s support for a new action plan aimed at uniting the disparate industry and promoting local food across the GTA.
The plan was formally launched in Niagara Region last weekend, where local food and wine were on the menu.
“We are, in my mind, the centre of the universe,” said Ontario Federation of Agriculture director Peter Lambrick at the launch in Vineland.
“What people don’t recognize is agriculture plays a very central role financially in this province,” Environment Minister Jim Bradley said.
“To those in agriculture … and production, I am deeply grateful to you. I am hopeful this will be a viable pathway to the future.”
The Greater Golden Horseshoe agriculture and food production sector is the second biggest on the continent and the agricultural action committee wants it to grow to become a world leader, Mr. Ferri told regional councillors.
The land has been protected through legislation such as the Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine acts, but how to make the farmers working that land more successful is a bigger question.
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