World Food Day is the time to protect prime farmland

World Food Day is a perfect opportunity for the Premier to follow my lead in signing the Food and Water First pledge to protect prime farmland and source water.  
Only 5 per cent of Ontario’s land mass is suitable for growing food and even less — just 0.5% — is prime farmland. Yet, Ontario is losing 350 acres of farmland everyday.  
 
It’s imperative that Ontario commit to halting the loss of prime farmland and making healthy food accessible to all Ontarians. 
 
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.
 
Now Enbridge proposes to ship dirty tarsands oil under Ontario’s prime farmland, major river systems and through hundreds of communities. Interestingly, the National Energy Board hearings into Enbridge’s LIne 9B proposal start in Toronto today. Over 600 Green Party supporters have sent the Premier a letter asking her to say no to Line 9.
 
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, Premier Wynne and the opposition leaders at Queen’s Park have not answered my challenge to sign the Food and Water First pledge. Ontario needs political leadership that is not missing in action when it comes to protecting food and water. 
 
I’m going to celebrate World Food Day by eating an Ontario apple and fighting to protect prime farmland.