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Tough to be a new farmer when you can’t find land

Tough to be a new farmer when you can’t find land

Ontario farmland continues to disappear.

By Andrew Joseph,; Image by Jacob Lund Photography from

Goodbye, city life. Green Acres we are there! Except the green acres are not.

For the young urbanite looking to become a farmer—and yes, there are such people—purchasing a swatch of ag-designated farmland to grow is a rarity in Ontario.

One could indeed purchase a pre-fab farm—one that has been farmed for generations and is now up for sale. But that’s expensive, especially for a farmer looking to fill a niche market.

But the new farmer wants to live in the suburbs and go to work on the farm. The only option, it seems, is to find a parcel of farmland and rent it. But even that has its difficulties.

We all know about urban sprawl and how it has slowly/quickly eaten up farmland bordering urban areas. We are also aware that cities have attempted to limit their own sprawl.

You can lease farmland from a farmer or from a developed, but there’s always the possibility it could be sold next season or have the land developed.  

When the Peel and Durham regions—including the huge City of Mississauga decided it would be okay to open up 19,000 acres of farmland to developers, it just means more urban and less rural in Ontario’s future.

You might sound old if you’ve ever started a sentence with: “I remember when …” or be old if you know the opening line Green Acres “origin”, but the disappearing farmland has been ongoing as Ontario's population grows.

Does anyone recall the Highway 7/Hurontario corridor from the 401 up through to Brampton? It was all fields not that long ago, and a driving range owned by ex-NHL great Andy Bathgate. Gone. Turned into an industrial area.

It’s good because we need jobs for people—but what do those people eat?

A recent article published by Canada’s National Observer discusses the difficulties faced by one urbanite turned Ontario farmer, as well as the issues of food security and land security. To read the article, click HERE.

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