Hamburger Menu Button
Link to Search Page
Collapse Expand Button
September 21 and 22
2 days, 2 disciplines, 2 ways to participate – defining our professional roles and uniting to build more equitable, accessible and inspired communities.
Ontario family farms are changing. While large farms continue to grow and prosper, medium to small-sized family farmers are increasingly pressured into selling the family farm, practising pluriactivity, or looking for new opportunities on the family farm.
On-farm diversification is one unique avenue Ontario family farmers are exploring today. On-farm diversification not only includes growing new crops and implementing value-added farming practices, it can also include new businesses on farm lands, some of which may not be directly related to agriculture at all. Ontario is home to a variety of on-farm diversification, including various wineries, breweries, and distilleries; small-scale restaurants; wedding and concert venues; overnight accommodations and much more.
Current Ontario planning policies are firmly built around preservation of farm land and agriculture. Farm land protection is primarily completed by restricting development on farms, permanently protecting those lands or minimizing conflicts between existing agricultural operations and new development through policy.
In 2016, the Province of Ontario created guidelines on permitted uses in Ontario’s prime agricultural areas. These guidelines are the first important direct step within the Ontario land use planning policy regime assisting family farmers with on-farm diversification permissions. This dynamic research has gathered preliminary perspectives from both Ontario on-farm diversified farmers and municipal/provincial planners to understand the trials and tribulations as well as the successes of balancing on-farm diversification and agricultural land preservation.
Ontario planning policy will need to pivot to meet the changing agricultural economic trends of on-farm diversification while still preserving our ever-so-important agricultural lands. Come explore with us the fundamental role of planning policy in supporting the success of agriculture in 2021 and beyond.