Overview

In 2011,  The Highland Companies, filed an application with the province for the largest quarry in Canadian history on the best farmland in Ontario and at the headwaters of five river systems. The mega Quarry would have sprawled across 2,316 acres and would have plunged 200 feet below the water table on a 15,000 acre plateau of Class 1 farmland. The massive open-pit limestone quarry would have put rare agricultural soil and precious water resources at risk in Melancthon Township. A large and diverse group of rural and urban residents launched a Stop the Mega Quarry movement. It was a success.

 

On November 21, 2012, The Highland Companies announced it was withdrawing its Mega Quarry application and plans for a rail corridor through Dufferin County to Owen Sound. However, the fate of the land and water was unknown. Highland Companies still owned 6,500 acres of Class 1 farmland and could re-apply at any time.

 

Then on July 16, 2013, Bonnefield Financial, an investment firm specializing in acquiring farmland, bought all of Highland's land. Bonnefield's president, Tom Eisenhauser, announced the fields will continue to be farmed. After many years of uncertainty, it seems the best agricultural soil in the province and its bounty are safe for the time being.

While the Melancthon fields may be secure, Ontario's prime farmland and source water regions remain vulnerable. The present Provincial Policy Statement and Aggregate Resources Act still allow non-farming development on land and water that sustain us. Until legislation is changed, these vital resources are still at risk.

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We must now ensure that our source waters and prime agricultural lands are protected, and not at risk of being destroyed.....thus the beginning of our:

Food & Water First campaign, round 2 of 2.

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  • Building a Better Approach to Ontario's Pits & Gravel - Feb. 1 to 6, 2017

    Cornerstone Standards Council is seeking feedback from community and environmental groups on potential revisions to its Responsible Aggregate Standard.

    Join them for a two-hour discussion that will inform the future of aggregates management in Southern Ontario!

    Pre-registration is required. Please contact Krista West at kwest@cornerstonestandards.ca for dates and times or to register.

     

    Wednesday Feb. 1 (1-3 pm) Uxbridge

    •     Uxbridge Arena – Small Boardroom

    •     291 Brock Street West, Uxbridge

     

    Wednesday Feb. 1 (7-9 pm) Caledon

    •     Caledon East Community Centre – Lion's Den Meeting Room

    •     6215 Old Church Road, Caledon East

     

    Thursday Feb. 2 (6-8 pm) Brantford

    •     3rd Floor Group Study Room (go to the top floor and then straight ahead)

    •     173 Colburn Street

     

    Friday February 3 (1-3 pm) Burlington

    •     Haber Community Room 1 East

    •     2040 Timdoobie Drive, Burlington

     

    Saturday  February 4 (1-3 pm) Owen Sound

    •     Bayshore Community Centre Shoreroom #1

    •     1900 3rd Avenue East Owen Sound

     

    For more details visit www.cornerstonestandards.ca

    View poster.

  • Water Docs Film Festival March 22-26, 2016

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    The annual Water Docs Film Festival features another terrific line-up of documentaries about all things water. Watch a film, join a discussion and learn how to take action to protect this vital resource! Opening Night is March 22nd and the documentary Fractured Land will be the first film screened. Watch the trailer.

    Full details.

     

  • Ontario Farmland Forum - March 27, 2015

    Our friends at Ontario Farmland Trust are hosting a special forum on farmland preservation at the end of the month and all are welcome to participate.
     
     
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    The one-day session will take place in Oshawa and will feature Doug Wolfgang as the keynote speaker. He's in charge of Pennsylvania's farmland preservation program, the largest in the U-S.
     
    Since 1988, our Great Lakes neighbour has protected more than 500,000-acres of farmland for the state's $68-billion agri-food sector and future food security. He will outline this successful program and pass along its lessons.
     
    Food & Water First will be there!
     
    Date: Friday, March 27, 2015
    Time: 10am - 6pm
     

    For more information and to register: Ontario Farmland Forum

  • Water Docs Film Festival - Mar. 21 - 29, 2014

    Ecologos Presents

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    Water Docs Film Festival 2014

    When: March 21 - March 29, 2014

    Where: Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario, McCaul St. @ Dundas St. W., Toronto

    List of films: http://ecologos.ca/waterdocs/

    Ticket sales: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/557968

    .   Capitalizing on rising public concern about water and the growing popularity of documentary storytelling, it begins with a 24-hour celebration of water, to signify World Water Day with films about water and water issues.   This Festival will highlight both feature films and shorts about water and the schedule includes discussions with filmmakers and experts from the water community.   

    Explore ways we can each change our actions to make a concrete difference.  www.waterdocs.ca.

     

  • 10th Annual Farmland Forum - Fri. Mar. 7, 2014

     

    Time: 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM

    Location: Unversity of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

    Detailed Program:  http://ontariofarmlandtrust.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Ontario-Farmland-Trust-2014-Farmland-Forum-Program.pdf

    Opening Remarks by Premier Kathleen Wynne

    Registration and full details at: http://ontariofarmlandtrust.ca/get-involved/events/annual-farmland-forum/2014-farmland-forum/

    NDACT Vice Chair, Shirley Boxem will be in attendance.

  • Local Food Hero Award - Wed. Feb. 12, 2014

    Presented by the Toronto Food Policy Council

    A Local Food Hero Award is being given to NDACT chair, Carl Cosack, by the Toronto Food Policy Council!

    Carl is being honoured for his hard work in promoting the protection of prime farmland and source water regions.

    The presentation will take place Wednesday, February 12th at 2pm. Committee Room 4, Toronto City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

  • FairlawnStock - March 26, 2014

    The Fairlawn Neighbourhood Centre in North Toronto is hosting Fairlawnstock to spread the word about Food & Water First.

    Food, music and a presentation by NDACT Chair Carl Cosack.

    More details to come!

  • Margaret Atwood Issued a Challenge

    In support of our Food & Water First partners in Midhurst, we are spreading the news:

    Margaret Atwood has issued a simple challenge:

    Spread the word, get 5000 signatures on their petition and she will visit all they are to protect AND host a fundraiser in their nearby high school.

    This is a GREAT opportunity for Midhurst, Springwater and the Minesing Wetlands to garner well-deserved recognition for their beauty and charm.  But, they can't do it without you.  Their petition sits roughly at 2000 people and has grown by roughly 150 per day since Ms. Atwood's involvement. They still need 3000 more signatures!

    From their petition:

    The Midhurst Secondar Plan proposes to turn a small, rural community of 3,500 people into a small city of almost 30,000! At stake are the local farms on rime agricultural land that will be sacrificed for development land (up to almost 1,900 acres).

    Moreover, the health of a small local creek and the nearby, internationally significant Minesing Wetlands are threatened by 10.6 million litres of effluent that will be pumped in daily from the proposed sewage treatment facility. These wetlands contain fragile ecosystems and in some parts, rare or sensitive species of flora and fauna.  Based on what we stand to lose or destroy, failure to stop this massive over-development is NOT an option.

     

    Click here to read more.

     

    Please sign and share the petition. 

    http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=c645cc192cabb153747cd0203&id=668b3011a6&e=59f5701035

    http://www.stopspringwatersprawl.com/

  • Breakfast at Haisai - Feb. 26, 2014

    Presented by: Farmland Preservation


    A Food & Water First Partner

     

    You are invited to:

    A Breakfast at Haisai


    Date: Feb. 26, 2014
    Time: 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
    Location: Haisai Restaurant, 794079 County Rd. 124, Singhampton, ON

    Flapjacks and coffee $15.00

     

    Purpose: to discuss farmland preservation in the south Georgian Bay region

     

    Carl Cosack, NDACT Chair, will present on Food & Water First’s goals and direction in 2014 and discuss how we can engage other municipalities to put Food &Water First on their agenda.

    Please help spread the word and expand the discussion.

     

    For more information, contact Joclyn at:  jbiggins@unitedwaygsc.ca

     



  • Call to Action: Food & Water First

    FOOD AND WATER FIRST: CALL TO ACTION!

     Now that our MPPs are back to work at Queen's Park, it's time to press them for a Food and Water First policy.

    The fight to stop the Highland mega quarry shone a spotlight on the lack of protection for Ontario's prime farmland and source water regions under the Aggregate Resources Act. The review of the ARA has been stuck in limbo since last summer and has yet to resume. As well, the Liberals have said they plan to re-introduce a Local Food Act which we believe should contain protection for the farmland and water that sustain our local food and thriving agri-food sector. 

     Below is a template letter addressed to Premier Kathleen Wynne and 10 members of her cabinet. Please feel free to add your own thoughts, experiences and expertise.

    In order to send an e-mail to the Premier you must do so at this link. Simply copy your letter into the space provided and fill out the necessary boxes.

     You can copy the e-mail addresses for the Cabinet ministers into a single e-mail or send the letter to them individually. Let them know about Food and Water First! 

    Jeff Leal, Minister of Rural Affairs: jleal.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

    Charles Sousa, Finance Minister: csousa.mpp@liberal.ola.org

    Linda Jeffrey, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister: ljeffrey.mpp@liberal.ola.org

    Jim Bradley, Environment Minister: jbradley.mpp@liberal.ola.org

    David Orazietti, Natural Resources Minister: dorazietti.mpp@liberal.ola.org

    Eric Hoskins, Economic Development, Trade & Employment: ehoskins.mpp@liberal.ola.org

    Glen Murray, Transportation & Infrastructure Minister: gmurray.mpp@liberal.ola.org

    Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier: dmatthews.mpp@liberal.ola.org

    Ted McMeekin, Community & Social Services Minister: tmcmeekin.mpp@liberal.ola.org

    Michael Chan, Tourism Minister: mchan.mpp@liberal.ola.org

    To Premier Wynne and members of the Liberal cabinet:

       Congratulations on your appointments and the resumption of the Ontario Legislature. While you are extremely busy with your new portfolios, I'm writing to urge you to address an issue that is a growing concern for thousands of Ontarians: the protection of our prime farmland and source water regions. I strongly believe we need a Food and Water First policy to ensure these strategic and perpetual resources are preserved for the benefit of our economy and food sustainability.

       As you are aware, the Highland Companies withdrew its application for a controversial mega quarry north of Shelburne in November. The mega quarry was to be the largest in Canada, on the best agricultural land in the country and at the headwaters of five river systems. A diverse grassroots movement fought the mega quarry for 18 months, arguing that the rarest farmland in the province and water for up to one million people downstream should be protected. Your government wisely ordered an unprecedented Environmental Assessment for the application and a review of the outdated Aggregate Resources Act. It was clear the mega quarry fight had exposed the many flaws in current legislation, including the lack of protection for prime farmland and source water regions. Last spring, several agricultural stakeholders made detailed presentations before the Standing Committee on General Government studying the ARA. They also participated in the review of the Provincial Policy Statement in the fall. I am asking you to reconstitute the Standing Committee on General Government as soon as possible so the review of the ARA will proceed. I am also asking you to ensure the updated PPS reflects the concerns raised by agricultural stakeholders and the general public.

       You have also stated the Local Food Act will be introduced. This piece of legislation must include protection for prime farmland. Ontarians cannot enjoy the benefits of local food if local prime farmland continues to disappear. For too many years our agricultural land and its bounty have been taken for granted. A mere .5 percent of Canada is comprised of Class 1 farmland and more than half of it is in southern Ontario. According to the Ontario Farmland Trust, our farmland is a strategic resource and the single most important agricultural resource in the country. Ontario's agri-food sector is the largest in Canada, contributing $33-billion to the provincial economy every year and employing nearly 700-thousand people. Yet, the land that sustains this vital sector is not protected and is lost at an annual rate of 51,000 hectares or 127,000 acres to non-farm development. Ontario Farmland Trust estimates the province could lose food self-sufficiency within 25 years. This must not happen. 

     Given the importance of Ontario's prime farmland and water resources to our economy and food security, it's time for a Food and Water First policy. The grassroots movement that stopped the mega quarry will be working towards this goal. I hope your government will support our efforts and help us create this lasting legacy. 

     Warm regards,

  • Faisal Moola & Carl Cosack Speak at AWARE Meeting - Mar. 23, 2013

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    Date: Saturday March 23, 2013

    Time: 9:30 AM - Noon

    Location: St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2940 10th Sideroad, Bradford, ON.

    Faisal Moola of the David Suzuki Foundation and Carl Cosack of NDACT, will to provide their perspectives on the need to control growth and protect water and farmland. Cosack will talk about NDACT's Food and Water First campaign, which dovetails perfectly with the vision AWARE Simcoe is working on, while Moola will tell us about the recent DSF study of the GTA whitebelt, and the need to protect 94,000 hectares of farmland, fields and forests.

    For carpooling to Bradford, call the following numbers: From the north – 705-526-9883, from the east 705-329-3628, from the west – 705-466-2000

    For full details, please go to AWARE Simcoe website at: http://www.aware-simcoe.ca/meetings/meetings/3523-vision.html

  • NDACT General Meeting & Celebration - Feb.16, 2013

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    Taters not Craters


    Join us in Honeywood as we recap the past year of our campaign to stop the Highland mega quarry and our vision going forward. Then, get ready to dance as we celebrate our recent success with a party and live music! 

    Date: Saturday, February 16, 2013

    Time: Doors open at 6:00 PM, local food showcase starts at 6:30 PM

    Where: North Dufferin Community Centre (Honeywood Arena), 706114 County Rd. 21, Honeywood, ON L0N 1H0

    What:

    • 6:00 Doors Open

    • 6:30 Local food showcase

      Philip Patrick - Executive chef at the Ridge at Manitou Golf Club

      Caesar Guinto & Samuel Holwell - Creemore Kitchen

      Shawn Adler - The Flying Chestnut & The Flying Spatula

      Gareth & Julie Carter - Men With Knives

    • 7:00 Meeting / Message from NDACT Chair, Carl Cosack

    Speakers:

    Prof. Rene Van Acker (U of Guelph)

    Dale Goldhawk (Goldhawk Fights Back - Zoomer Radio)

    Brad Giffen – CTV National News Host

    Mark Calzavara – Council of Canadians

    Dr. Faisal Moola – Suzuki Foundation

    • 7:45 Party starts - Square Dancing with Gary Heaslip & Band

     

    • 8:30 main Stage Show until midnight

    Artists include:

    Jeremy Taggart www.ourladypeace.com

    Emm Gryner www.emmgryner.com

    Gary Heaslip and Band

    Harlan Pepper www.harlanpepper.ca


    Questions? Contact:  info@ndact.com

  • Artists Against the MegaQuarry would like your help

    Artists Against the MegaQuarry would like to create a special segment that focuses on the 31 homesteads that have been destroyed by Highland.
     
    They envision paintings, photo collages, old letters from previous owners -- a visual history of the farms, the families who lived on them and what's been taken from the community since Highland bought the land.
     
    They need photos of the old places -- homes, barns, laneways, families -- anything that can inspire the artists. They will post the images on the Artists Against the MegaQuarry website and put out the call to the artists to submit artwork depicting these lost places so should you submit something, please know that it may be posted in the public realm and reproduced.
     
    Can you help in finding those photos, letters and history about the properties from the past and help tell their stories before they are lost forever.
     
    Before and after photo's would be wonderful.
     
    Please scan and forward what you have electronically to dtranquada@rogers.com or please photocopy and drop off with any NDACT board member who will be sure to get it to Donna Tranquada who is spearheading this great initiative.
     
    If you were an owner or resident of a property that is still standing, but which Highlands now owns, please forward the same things-as these homesteads face the same fate.
     
    Please indicate the name of the homestead/lot and concession as well, which helps in identifying the properties.
     
    Thanks for your help.
  • Artists Against the MegaQuarry - Show & Sale - February 3-4, 2012

    Date: Saturday & Sunday, February 3 - 4, 2012

    Time: Friday Feb. 3, 6:00-9:00 PM evening reception

    :Saturday, Feb. 4, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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    Location:

    Studio 5 - 1362 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON (south of St. Clair)

    Proceeds from the sales of these works will be donated, in half or full to the campaign.

    For more details, please go to: http://www.artistsagainstthemegaquarry.com/