Harvesting Appreciation During Agriculture Week

Province Recognizes Those Who Grow and Make Ontario’s Food

October 6, 2015 

In the lead up to Thanksgiving, Ontario is celebrating Agriculture Week which runs from October 5-11.

The province is encouraging the people of Ontario to mark this important week by visiting a local farmers market, buying VQA wine, craft beer and cider, and planning a meal with seasonal ingredients.

Ontario's agri-food industry is a significant driver of the province's economy, contributing $34 billion annually, including $12.5 billion in exports, and employing more than 780,000 individuals. Those who work in the industry:

  • Produce more than 200 agricultural commodities - from quinoa and beef to bok choy and milk
  • Harvest the largest area of winter wheat, grapes, apples, peaches, sour cherries, pears, and plums in Canada
  • Grow almost 99 percent of the country's ginseng, which is known as the highest quality in the world
  • Collect maple syrup from 1.5 million taps
  • Oversee more than half of Canada's greenhouses that produce foods such as peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers

Supporting the province's agri-food sector is part of the government's four-part plan to build Ontario up. The plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan.

Quick Facts

  • In 2013, Premier Kathleen Wynne challenged the agri-food sector to double its growth rate and create 120,000 jobs by 2020.
  • Since 2003, the province has invested more than $160 million to support sales of Ontario foods.


“Ontario’s agri-food sector is the cornerstone of our society and a major economic force in our province. Our government is proud to support this important industry and those who work hard to make it thrive. Let’s support the people that make Ontario food all year long. I encourage all Ontarians to get out and visit a farm or farmers market and buy more of the good things that grow in Ontario.”

Jeff Leal

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Posted on Ontario Newsroom

Schreiner challenges Wynne, Brown, and Horwath to protect food and water

Schreiner, in Finch for the 2015 International Plowing Match, is reissuing his challenge to Premier Kathleen Wynne, Andrea Horwath and Patrick Brown to sign the Food & Water First Pledge.

"We can't eat subdivisions, quarries, highways or pipelines," says Schreiner. "Each of the party leaders say they like farmers. Yet, the land they farm is disappearing at a rate of 350 acres per day."

Only 5 per cent of Ontario's land mass is suitable for growing food and even less -- just 0.5% -- is prime farmland. The rate of farmland loss is actually increasing, and Ontario now faces an annual loss of farmland equal to the size of Toronto.

Losing farmland threatens our ability to feed ourselves and hurts Ontario's economy. The food and farming sector employs more than 740,000 people and contributes more than $30 billion to Ontario's economy.

"Every day prime farmland is threatened by development, such as the proposed mega development in Midhurst," adds Schreiner. "A country that can't feed itself is as insecure as a country that can't defend itself. I will continue to fight for policies that support profitable family farms and protect prime farmland."

The Food & Water First campaign is a citizen led effort inspired by the anti-mega-quarry campaign in Melancthon Township. The goal is to change provincial law so that Class 1 farmland -- the most fertile land -- and source water regions are protected in Ontario.

Schreiner is the first and only political party leader in Ontario to sign the Food and Water First pledge.

By Samantha Bird, Sep. 22,2015
Posted on WireService.ca 

Who will make the pledge


Candidates in the Simcoe North provincial byelection all tend to agree on the importance of protecting prime farmland and water sources but few will go as far as to sign the Food and Water First pledge.

Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner was in Tiny Township recently to show his support for provincial Simcoe North candidate Valerie Powell and Federal candidate Peter Stubbins. While there Schreiner and Powell solidified their support for Food and Water First campaign which calls on political leaders to do everything in their power to protect Class 1 farmland and source water regions in Ontario from further development.

They also called on Patrick Brown Progressive Conservative candidate for Simcoe North and leader of the opposition to sign the pledge. "We are challenging the leader of the opposition to take a stand on protecting food and water." Schreiner said at the time adding if Brown would not sign the pledge the constituents of Simcoe North could choose to vote for someone who had.

Powell Postmedia sought to pose the question not only to Brown but also to the other candidates in the byelection Brown who has been at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in Niagara Falls this week has yet to return calls.

Fred Larsen Liberal candidatein the byelection pointed to the government s record on protecting farmland. "We are currently working with municipalities with the goal of expanding the nearly two million acres of environmentally sensitive land and farmland already protected from urban development by the Greenbeltwith the goal of exploringways to protect prime agricultural lands and ensure farming viability." Larsen wrote in an email, "Our Liberal government has directly supported agriculture by passing the Local Food Act setting up the Local Food Fund and putting 400 million into the agri food sector. Elizabeth Van Houtte running locally for the New Democratic Party was more specific in her support of Food and Water First but she stopped short of signalling she would sign the pledge. Our position is that we need to protect prime farmland and drinking water sources she said, "It is essential with the area that we live in with all of the lakes and farms.We very much need to protect that."

By Patrick Bales, sunmedia.ca
August 19, 2015

Americans think farmers should be first in line for water during drought

Water is not an endless resource, as our American neighbours are well aware. Let us not take our water for granted. We need to do our best to protect it so that we don't go down a similar road as our neighbours.


The drought has been acute in California, where rainfall has dipped to record lows, reservoirs are depleted and state regulators have ordered conservation from cities, businesses and agriculture. Some communities have been given nine months to cut their use by 36 percent compared to 2013 levels.

Nevada's Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the country, is hovering near its historic low water mark and residents in the Las Vegas area have limits on lawn watering.

"We need to take care of people first — and food," said William Clarke-Jessimy, 33, from Queens, New York, who thinks homes and agriculture should be favored for water rights.

He's watched prices spike for California fresh fruits and vegetables in his local markets, and he worries about friends and family in the San Francisco area who are living with the scarcity of water, with no relief in sight.

"It's really scary," he said. "They need to find ways to deal with the drought on a long-term basis. I don't think a lot of people realize how bad it really is."

Read full story from Los Angeles Daily News.

Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review - Update

Our comments regarding the Land Use Review have been submitted.


What's next?

The comments and submissions received in the first phase of public consultation will help inform any proposed changes to the plans. Following the release of the proposed changes, a second phase of public consultation will be held to refine them further. This second phase of consultation is expected to begin in the winter of 2016.

Updates will be found at: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page10882.aspx