GUELPH, ON [May 5, 2022] – Where our food comes from matters.
Especially when that food comes from Ontario farms. Our food security relies on a strong agricultural sector that can get food from the farm to your dinner plate without the hassle of international travel, trade disputes or unforeseen events like a global pandemic shutting down cross-border travel.
And that underscores one unalienable truth — you cannot farm without farmland.
“That, really, is the entire crux of our Home Grown campaign,” says Peggy Brekveld, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). “Your morning toast and cereal. The cream in your coffee. The meat and veg at dinner. The apple for a mid-afternoon snack. The Ontario VQA wine, craft beer, cider or Candian-distilled spirit to relax in the evening. It all depends on Ontario farmers and our farmland.”
It was May 4, 2021, when digital ads first started appearing under the Home Grown banner — a campaign that was a response by the OFA to an increasing use by the province of an obscure land-use planning tool that was taking agricultural lands out of production for urban development.
Home Grown evolved from that initial advocacy into a broader awareness campaign to highlight the importance of preserving farmland to support the production of local foods, fibres, fuels and flowers. With 2016 Census of Agriculture data indicating the province is losing an average of 175 acres of productive farmland each day, it is a vitally important issue. (And it should be noted, data from the 2021 Census of Agriculture is expected to be released later this month, and all expectations are that 175 acres per day number will grow.)
To date, Home Grown has generated more than 31,500 signatures of support at homegrown.ofa.on.ca, and more than 1.5 million people have engaged with a Home Grown digital ad an average of five times each.
The OFA has also put together a short YouTube video to mark the occasion.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been an alarming expansion of low-density housing, warehouses, factories and other non-agricultural land uses on land that was previously in agricultural production,” says Brekveld. “This is added pressure Ontario farmers simply don’t need. The need for urban growth to keep up with a growing population is understood, but it has to be approached in a smart, measured and sustainable way. Ontario can’t afford to prioritize haphazard urban development over prime food-producing farmland.”
Together, our unified voice can make change happen and save Ontario’s food and farms from disappearing forever.
About the Ontario Federation of Agriculture
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer. For more information, visit www.ofa.on.ca.
About Home Grown
A public awareness initiative of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Home Grown is a campaign to advocate for the importance of Ontario farms as a source of food, fuel and fibre. Arable farmland is the most important natural resource, but Ontario is losing an average of 175 acres of farmland to urban development every day; that is the equivalent of five family farms paved over every week. It is the objective of Home Grown to help develop a workable plan to guide responsible development in Ontario, ensuring growth to provide housing and support local tax bases while also protecting productive farmland.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218