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Forum promises to spark dialogue about farmland viability

A provincial organization with a focus on farmland preservation and viability will meet in Prince Edward County next week.

The 14th annual Farmland Forum hosted by the Ontario Farmland Trust (OFT) is set to meet in Wellington April 4-5.

“The Farmland Forum is an exciting opportunity to showcase our rich farmland and learn more about how we can strengthen and protect this vital resource now and in the future,” said PEC Mayor Robert Quaiff. “Agriculture represents an essential aspect of our municipality’s economic, cultural and historical identity.”

Building Farmland Viability in Ontario is the theme for this year’s forum at the Wellington and District Community Centre featuring guest speakers and discussion panels.

This year’s keynote speaker is the Kim Grout from the Agricultural Land Commission in British Columbia. She will share her province’s experience supporting farmland protection and viability through the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Another highlight is a panel that will explore how farms in Prince Edward County have successfully diversified operations within the context of land use planning.

The night before the forum officially gets under way, Kathryn Enders, Executive Director of the OFT, will hold an informal question and answer session about OFT and farmland easement agreements. The event is set to begin at 7 pm on April 4 and everyone is welcome to attend.

“The forum is about dialogue and creative-thinking in support of new tools, partnerships, policy, and grassroots approaches that result in leadership and action on farmland preservation and viability in Ontario,” Enders said. “Anyone involved in farmland protection in Ontario, or anyone who has an interest in engaging more with this issue, should attend.”

The OFT’s province-wide mission is to protect and preserve farmlands and associated agricultural, natural and cultural features of the countryside. The charitable organization advances its mission through a variety of means including direct land securement, stewardship, policy research and educations.

Registration is now open for the forum. A limited number of free registrations are available for young farmers, 4H members and students. Contact Grace Nyman, Community Development Coordinator, County of Prince Edward, at 613.476.2148 ext. 2502 or gnyman@pecounty.on.ca for more information.

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