Schreiner issues challenge to party leaders: Sign the Food and Water First pledge

West Perth, ON: It’s time to put food and water first, says Mike Schreiner, Green Party of Ontario leader.  
Schreiner, attending the International Plowing Match, has challenged Kathleen Wynne, Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath to step up and commit to protecting prime farmland and source water in Ontario.
“We can’t eat subdivisions, quarries, highways or pipelines,” says Schreiner. “Yet prime farmland is disappearing at a rate of 350 acres per day. This is unsustainable – it threatens our health, local food security, and our economy. The province needs to protect prime farmland before it’s too late.”
Schreiner is the only provincial party leader to sign The Food & Water First Pledge to protect prime farmland and source water. The Food & Water First campaign is a citizen led effort inspired by the anti-mega quarry campaign. The goal is to have provincial law changed so that Class 1 farmland — the most fertile land — is protected in Ontario. 
Only 5 per cent of Ontario’s land mass is suitable for growing food and even less — just 0.5% — is prime farmland. Tragically, while the local food movement becomes more popular, the rate of farmland loss is actually increasing. From 2001 to 2006, the province lost about 197,000 acres, or about 100 acres per day. From 2006-2011 farmland loss increased to 641,980 acres or around 130,000 acres per year. This is an annual loss of farmland equal to the size of Toronto.
Losing farmland not only threatens our ability to feed ourselves, it also jeopardizes our economy, The food and farming sector employs more than 700,000 people and contributes more than $30 billion to Ontario’s economy. Yet Wynne, Hudak and Howarth are missing in action when it comes to protecting this critical resource.
“I challenge all political parties to protect Ontario’s prime farmland and water resources by signing the Food and Water First pledge,” says Schreiner. “We need to protect these resources today, so that our kids can continue to eat fresh local food years from now.”
More information on the Food & Water first campaign can be found at http://foodandwaterfirst.com/