Ontario's soil map getting first update in 40 years

The provincial and federal governments have teamed up to invest $5.1 million to update Ontario's soil map.

Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Jeff Leal, the MPP for Peterborough, made the announcement Friday at Hawthorne Ridge Heritage Farm in Douro-Dummer Township.

Funds will be invested over the next two years, with Peterborough County allocated $875,000 for aerial mapping, data collection and field logistics and staff.

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ARA / Co-ordinated Land Review Submission

Our submission

 

Re: EBR Registry Number: 012-5444
Food and Water First Review Comments (NDACT)
A Blueprint for Change: A Proposal to Modernize and Strengthen the Aggregate Resources Act Policy Framework, Ontario

Dear Ms. Rosa,

This review of the Ontario document ‘A Blueprint for Change: A Proposal to Modernize and Strengthen the Aggregate Resources Act Policy Framework” has been undertaken at the request of North Dufferin Agricultural and CommunityTaskforce (NDACT). This review is focussed on NDACT’s provincial Food and Water First Initiative to protect Ontario’s prime agricultural lands and water resources. This letter conforms to NDACT’s basic objectives but also contains views of the author.

The enclosed comments also reflect consideration of the Provincial Policy Statement (2005 and 2014), the Cornerstone Aggregate Standards (2015) and Crombie Report “Planning for Health, Prosperity and Growth in the Greater Horseshoe 2015-2041". This milestone report released December 7, 2015 is expected to lead provincial land use policy for south-central Ontario over the coming years. The Aggregate Resources Act Blueprint for Change document has not been harmonized with this document.

 

Read full document.

January 2016 Message from NDACT Chair

Greetings to everyone and a Happy New Year to you. Here's hoping you had some time to relax and reflect on what a wonderful region and country we live in.

In 2015 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization declared the International Year of Soils. That brought significant attention to the degradation and disappearance of soils around the globe. That which sustains us doesn't just produce good food, but also function as carbon sinks helping to avert climate change.

Last year also had a significant amount of activity on the issue of land use. The Aggregate Resources Act draft was finally completed and open for public comments until Dec 15. This is the key legislation that we have been lobbying to change for years. Remember that it was the Mega Quarry issue that triggered a review of the ARA. We sent notices out to all supporters that this was a key opportunity to speak up. There were improvements in the draft in the form of increased requirements for studies, however it fell short of the protections we have been asking for all along. NDACT responded with a detailed analysis, and also provided a template version for all of us to submit comments. We remained firm in our ask for total protection for class 1 farmland and no extraction below the water table. We posted and shared our draft with supporters and partner organizations and the support was tremendous. Many organizations weighed in with their own comments and drafts. There will be no further public inputs for this document, so we await the final outcome. That alone will make for an interesting 2016, though it does not stop there.

The year also contained key activity on the Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review. NDACT was invited to stakeholder sessions (as we were for the ARA). We expect a draft for public comments to be available any time soon, and this will also be a key time for all of us to have our voices heard. We have been vigilant so far and we need to keep up the pressure for protection. Our opportunities to do so will not be endless.

With the increasing focus on climate change there is all the more reason to protect the rich rain-fed food producing lands that we have here in Ontario. We are all voters and consumers. Our voices are the ones that matter. Let us use them in 2016 to move protections forward. We have accomplished so much together.

Thank you to our board members, volunteers, and supporters. Without you we could not have gotten this far.

Eat local and be heard – and have a happy and healthy 2016. Thank you for all that you do.

Shirley Boxem,
NDACT Chair

Let’s make groundwater an issue of national security

The year 2015 was the hottest year on this planet in recorded history. Drought, heat waves and forest fires were all symptoms of rising average temperatures in North America.

Temperature records invite Canadians to rethink the importance of groundwater. The resource is extensively used by communities, industries and farmers. It sustains rivers and wetlands, plays a key role in replenishing surface water systems and provides resilience in times of unpredictable weather.

The impacts of climate change are highlighting the strategic importance of groundwater in this country. As most Californians appreciate, groundwater, like money in the bank, can sustain societies through lean times of little precipitation. Canadians instinctively understand this.

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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