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'We’re gonna run out of farmland:' Ontario Federation of Agriculture worried about increased urban sprawl

As the Ford government looks to boost the province’s housing infrastructure, the OFA is collecting signatures on a petition.

“It's our hope that that this will be a tool to help show to government just how much the Ontario resident believes in Canadian food,” Ethan Wallace, director of the OFA told CTV News Thursday.

Their campaign called ‘Home Grown’ first started in summer 2021 but has since collected more than 41,000 signatures.

Wallace said the OFA is “disappointed” the province hasn’t revealed a comprehensive plan that focuses on redevelopment of current buildings instead of relying on urban sprawl.

“Ontario is a growing province. We have a growing population (and) there's going to be a continued need to grow, to build homes. What we as OFA are asking is that there be a diverse plan for it so that it's not all on (agricultural) land.” Wallace said.

According to the OFA, Census data from 2020 revealed Ontario loses 319 acres of farmland every single day to urban sprawl.

“Just think of how big 58 city blocks is. That's how much farmland we're losing every day,” Essex County farmer Leo Gilbeault told CTV News from his combine Thursday.

Gilbeault produces corn, soybeans and wheat from his 2,000 acre family farm.

He is worried farmland will get “gobbled up” by development and it will eventually impact Canada’s food security.

“Canada's one of only seven countries around the world that's food sufficient,” said Gilbeault. “If we keep losing farmland at this pace, we'll be will be one of those countries that will be very dependent on somebody else for our food.” Top Stories

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