Ontario's food security and sustainable agricultural system: A case study of the impacts planning policies have on Anabaptist and other small-scale farmers
Ontario's agricultural industry is constantly evolving. What was once an industry made of small-scale family farmers, is now becoming more industrialized to meet the demands of factors such as globalization and trade agreements. While the vast majority of these farms are still family owned, they are simply becoming bigger in size than they used to be. This raises the point that for Ontario to have a sustainable agricultural industry, and better food security, attention must not focus solely on large-scale farming. Rather, attention must also be given to small-scale farmers. While large-scale farmers have the ability to provide large amounts of food to large populations of people, small-scale farmers have the ability to provide quality, local food to their surrounding communities. With this, it is important to ensure a balanced approach to policy planning is enacted to better promote the cooperation of local food initiatives and large-scale cropping in addressing food security issues across Ontario. This paper sets out to spark a discussion around how three Ontario Provincial level planning policies have an impact on small-scale farming operations. To do so, many methods are implemented to provide a solid foundation on the topic. The researcher utilizes a literature review of food security and agricultural sustainability, a document review of the three planning policies, semi structured interviews with sixteen Anabaptist farmers from two rural communities in Ontario, and an Official Plan review of these two communities. Together these methods serve to discuss how the current planning policies affect these farmers.