Toronto residents are privileged to live at the centre of a vital agricultural sector that provides us with a diverse basket of goods including the fresh food in our farmers markets, many staples in our supermarkets, and wines in the LCBO. The agricultural sector also supports a large number of workers in Toronto in the food processing and tourism industries, and healthy agricultural lands help to clean our air and water.
Despite these clear benefits to our City and Province, the agricultural sector is currently under threat from urban and industrial developments that consume or degrade the valuable, irreplaceable Class 1 farmland around Toronto. As recipients of these benefits, we have a responsibility to speak up in defence of the agricultural sector. In recent years, a coalition of farmers and urban residents including many Torontonians demonstrated the effectiveness of our advocacy by stopping the Melancthon “Mega Quarry” which would have destroyed 2,300 acres of Class 1 farmland and threatened the water table at the headwaters of many local rivers.
I was very happy to successfully move a motion in October 2013 to add Toronto’s important voice to the many residents and Ontario municipalities who care about putting Food and Water First, protecting our region’s agricultural lands.