There are over 700 farms in the Capital Region. Less than half of them are growing food. Prices for farms have skyrocketed putting them out of reach of potential farmers. We also recognize that food is provided by the ecosystem more broadly through our rivers, lakes, oceans, meadows and forests which have been stewarded since time immemorial. We live and work on unceded indigenous territories, where the original food system was predominantly local and sustainable. We have much to learn about these foodways.
How can we get farmers and food system stewards on the land? How do we ensure we have healthy soils and lands into the future?
CRFAIR is supporting a number of initiatives that you can get behind to support farmland and foodland retention, stewardship and access.
Key points to consider:
Due to market pressures, farmland is priced between $100,000-200,000 an acre in the region
The average age of farmers in the region is 57 (Canada Census 2011) and over half will retire in the next decade
The largest barrier to new farmers is access to land and capital
Agriculture is a significant industry in our region ($50 Million in Gross Farm Receipts annually-Canada Census 2011)
Current policies and planning are not protecting land for farming or ensuring that farming is the primary activity on designated land
Many long-time stewards on the land, and others who gather and harvest foods, no longer have access to these lands or food sources. In addition they are not able to manage or care for these lands or shorelines. Many are contaminated or lost due to other competing interests.
We need new strategies to ensure farming and food creation is viable into the future
There is need for long term, predictable land access through agreements and leases, the creation of teaching and learning sites, and incubator farm programs