Greater Sudbury farmers say the city's agricultural preserve is holding young farmers back.

The city has set aside 13,000 acres of farmland it doesn't want developed. But farmers like Suzy Bell say they've lost control of their own land.

Bell was born and raised on a Valley farm and raised her three kids there — and now two of them want to be farmers.

But they can't do it here, because Bell's 100 acres are in Greater Sudbury's agricultural preserve and she can’t split it up among her children.

"It's our land, we're paying for it ... we own it," Bell said. "It's almost like, are we communist here or something? It's maybe not a nice thing to say, but that's how I feel."

Lately, Sudbury councillors have been going against the advice of city planners and are letting some farmers divide up their land.

Naomi Grant from the coalition for a liveable Sudbury said she is worried about this trend and noted that council needs to think about where future generations will get their food.

"Just like we need to take care of lakes, we need to take care of our arable soil for the future," she said.

The agricultural preserve is being re-considered as part of the review of the city's official plan — a process that is expected to wrap up by the end of the year.