No Farms No Food (http://www.nofarmsnofood.ca/) is a community coalition based in Kings County, NS working to preserve agricultural land from residental, commercial and/or industrial development. They are currently working to protect 382 acres of farmland in Greenwich, NS which are under serious threat of rezoning. The group has an online petition to which you can add your name and your support.
Here is the link: http://www.petitiononline.com/p4n3s2a1/petition.html
The following is a letter, writen by the Food Action Committee and sent to each of the Kings County Councillors, describing our concerns and our position on the topic of agricultural land protection.
We are writing on behalf of the Food Action Committee at the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax to express our view that the 382 acres of agricultural land in Greenwich being proposed for development should be protected and maintained as farmland. In light of recent events surrounding this farmland, we wanted to take the opportunity to explain our position about this controversial issue.
We believe in supporting local growers and connecting Nova Scotians to sources of food grown within the province. Encouraging a sustainable farming and food system, and creating long-term solutions for agricultural production is fundamentally important to us, and, we believe, to all residents of Nova Scotia. We strive to better our food security, protect our environment and benefit our local economy, and protecting farm land from development is part of these endeavors.
Rich agricultural land is not plentiful and its numbers are certainly not increasing; as the demographic age of farmers increases, more and more are leaning towards retirement and farming smaller and smaller acreages. The barriers that exist for new entrants to agriculture make it difficult to replace the declining number of farmers. One significant hindrance for new farmers is the cost and availability of prime agricultural land.
Furthermore, the demand for local food is growing here in Nova Scotia. However, once agricultural land has been developed for residential and commercial purposes, it is gone permanently. This farm land, which has been farmed for over 200 years, is too important a resource to be used without seriously considering the long term implications of that use; a condominium on a piece of land will not feed people, but a field of quality soil may. Even if the land is not currently being used for farming, the growing potential for that land remains. When buildings are built in its place, all hope for productivity of that land will have completely dissolved.
We recognize that despite the dedication and hard-work that farmers put into growing food in this province, they often end up in financially desperate positions. It is in these cases that the possibility of selling part of their land to developers becomes an attractive option. We want farmers to be able to make a reasonable living from their farm, but they should not have to sell their land for a one-time fix of this problem; there are more fundamental issues at play in this situation that need to be thoughtfully addressed and acted upon.
These things considered, we know that prime agricultural land is a scarce resource even here in Nova Scotia. Fertile land that is uninterrupted by buildings and other forms of development and is close to centres, is ideal for farming, and is worth protecting for the purposes of food production. Please consider seriously these points as the conversation on the fate of this Greenwich farmland continues.
Marla MacLeod and Keltie Butler
On behalf of the Food Action Committee
Of the Ecology Action Centre