Farm Parcel Creation: A Comparison of Policy and an Examination of Adaptation and Perspectives on Small-Acreage Mennonite Farms

Sharpe, Bryce
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University of Guelph

Mennonite families in Ontario, Canada are considering subdividing their farms into smaller parcels to create housing and employment options for a future generation of farmers who rely on horse-drawn vehicles for transportation. This thesis compares planning approaches and outcomes between Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and the Region of Waterloo, Ontario with a special emphasis on divergent minimum lot size standards in two Townships. The situation in Lancaster County confirms that Ontario’s basis for existing standards is generally correct from a planning perspective. It also examines adaptation and policy perspectives on small-acreage Mennonite farms across three Townships in Ontario. For certain production systems, existing standards appear to be serving their intended function. Existing standards may also lead to large parcels that are not necessarily required for certain forms of agriculture that are well suited to fewer acres and a unique cultural setting. This thesis concludes with a number of reflections and recommendations.

Mennonite farms, Farm parcel creation, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Region of Waterloo, Ontario, Small acreage