A Food and Water First Thanksgiving

FoodandWaterFirst

In order for a city the size of Toronto to celebrate Thanksgiving with “all the fixings” we turn to our farming neighbours. This past week Toronto City Council acknowledged our reliance on the food and farming sector by voting unanimously to become a Food and Water First City.  The Toronto Food Policy Council congratulates City Council for recognizing the essential partnership between City and Country, urban and rural, eater and farmer.

Remember FoodStock and the fight against the Mega Quarry? Food and Water First grew out of these roots and is a campaign to protect Ontario’s prime farmland and source water regions. A few months ago the TFPC became a Food and Water First partner. This led to a meeting with Councillor Josh Matlow who originally championed the Mega Quarry issue at City Council. He agreed to draft a motion to propose that the City of Toronto become a Food and Water First City.

The motion, reads:

Councillor Josh Matlow, seconded by Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, recommends that:

1. City Council communicate its support for a Food and Water First policy to protect Ontario’s Class A farmland to the Ontario Premier, the Minister of Agriculture and Food, the Minister of Rural Affairs, and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Summary
Toronto residents are privileged to live at the centre of a vital agricultural sector that provides us with a diverse basket of goods including the fresh food in our farmers markets, many staples in our supermarkets, and wines in the LCBO. The agricultural sector also supports a large number of workers in Toronto in the food processing and tourism industries, and healthy agricultural lands help to clean our air and water.

Despite these clear benefits to our City and Province, the agricultural sector is currently under threat from urban and industrial developments that consume or degrade the valuable, irreplaceable Class 1 farmland around Toronto. As recipients of these benefits, we have a responsibility to speak up in defence of the agricultural sector. In recent years, a coalition of farmers and urban residents including many Torontonians demonstrated the effectiveness of our advocacy by stopping the Melancthon “Mega Quarry” which would have destroyed 2,300 acres of Class 1 farmland and threatened the water table at the headwaters of many local rivers. City Council must signal its support for the agricultural sector and call on the Ontario government to adopt a Food and Water First policy to protect Ontario’s Class A farmland.

Thanks to the farmers, land and water that grow the beautiful food we will share with family and friends this weekend and throughout the year.

Thanks to our fabulous friends at Food and Water First who had the vision to unite Ontarians, rural and urban, for farmland and source water preservation.

Thanks to City Councillors who understand why Torontonians need to put Food and Water First.

Happy Thanksgiving!