Photo: Farmland near limerick, Saskatchewan
April 26, 2007
If you eat, be worried. Canada's thin slice of fertile land that can reliably produce crops is disappearing at an increasing rate - and Ontario is taking the worst hit, losing thousands of acres a year. For a province with more than half the country's best farmland, the pressures from urban sprawl are ringing more and more alarms. "People have become complacent because it is so easy to go to a grocery store and there is food from all over the world readily available at quite reasonable prices. People have become disconnected from the agricultural industry and the food system." Canada is the world's second-largest country in land area, yet only 11 per cent of its land is of any agricultural use. While there are no signs of an immediate food shortage, situations can change, especially in an era of global security concerns and terrorism. "If you can't grow food within your own region, you are really cutting off your independence. If you pave it over, you are cutting off all your options for the future." The loss of farmland also means consumers will have to rely on their food being transported greater distances, with that extra transportation adding to pollution.
Adapting to the damaging effects of climate change, plants are gradually moving to where temperatures are cooler, rainfall is greater, f...