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 

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,
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:




California’s Drought Could Upend America’s Entire Food System

On April 1, California Governor Jerry Brown stood in a field in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, beige grass stretching out across an area that should have been covered with five feet of snow. The Sierra’s snowpack — the frozen well that feeds California’s reservoirs and supplies a third of its water — was just eight percent of its yearly average. That’s a historic low for a state that has become accustomed to breaking drought records.

In the middle of the snowless field, Brown took an unprecedented step, mandating that urban agencies curtail their water use by 25 percent, a move that would save some 500 billion gallons of water by February of 2016 — a seemingly huge amount, until you consider that California’s almond industry, for example, uses more than twice that much water annually. Yet Brown’s mandatory cuts did not touch the state’s agriculture industry.

Agriculture requires water, and large-scale agriculture, like that in California, requires large amounts of water. So when Governor Brown came under fire for exempting farmers from the mandatory cuts — farmers use 80 percent of the state’s available water — he was unmoved.

 “They’re not watering their lawn or taking long showers,” he told ABC’s “The Week” the Sunday after he announced the restrictions. “They’re providing most of the fruits and vegetables of America to a significant part of the world.”

Almonds get a lot of the attention when it comes to California’s agriculture and water, but the state is responsible for a dizzying diversity of produce. Eaten a salad recently? Odds are the lettuce, carrots, and celery came from California. Have a soft spot for stone fruit? California produces 84 percent of the country’s fresh peaches and 94 percent of the country’s fresh plums. It produces 99 percent of the artichokes grown in the United States, and 94 percent of the broccoli. As spring begins to creep in, almost half of asparagus will come from California.

Read more of Natasha Geiling's posting.