Eight farms in the city's greenbelt — including one built in the 1870s — have been put up for rent by the National Capital Commission.
The NCC says it's looking for long-term tenants to establish diversified and sustainable agricultural practices on the farms, which range from 10 to 100 hectares.
'They don't think of it as a leased farm.'- Sherry O'Byrne
One of the farms being rented is Powell House, a 136-year-old red brick heritage farmhouse on Ridge Road in the city's east, wrapped in a white veranda and bundled with 24 hectares of fields — all for about $1900 a month.
"As part of the greenbelt acquisition throughout the years, you know, we fell into these farms," said Bill Leonard, the NCC's director of real estate.
"Farming is a heritage activity of Canada… part of the National Capital Commission's mandate is to preserve that heritage."
The NCC is looking for "all types" of owners, from beginners to experienced farmers, and are willing to consider a wide variety of potential uses for the land, Leonard told CBC's Ottawa Morning on Monday.
"Fruit and vegetables, small livestock, people have ideas beyond that as well," said Leonard. "We're really open to any kind of agricultural activities, and you know, we'll help you through the process."
Considering 25-year leases
Sherry O'Byrne is a long-time friend of the family who leased Friendly Acres, another NCC-owned farm on Ridge Road near Powell House, about 45 years ago.
"They don't think of it as a leased farm," said O'Byrne. "They live here. This is their place."
Along with Powell House, the NCC is also renting out a historic sugar maple bush at 670 Cedarview Rd. on the city's west side, near Highway 416.
The NCC says it's willing to consider leases of up to 25 years long for their Greenbelt property.