Farmland Disputes

As agricultural land is increasingly swallowed up by urban development, communities are often left divided because they are challenged with finding a balance between land for food and land for living. We explored this issue today on the show.


Farmland Dispute

At the eastern edge of the Annapolis Valley, there are a handful of long, narrow strip farms. They're nestled right in between the town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia and the hamlet of Greenwich. As Wolfville has grown, it has been creeping ever closer to the edge of those farms. And now, the owners of five of them have applied to have their land rezoned to allow for development. But many of the people who live in the area don't want that to happen. And they have formed a lobby group called No Farms, No Food. It's the kind of debate that is raging all across Canada. And in each case, the outcome will have a powerful impact on the future of the communities involved. The Municipality of Nova Scotia County has held two public meetings on the issue. And the community is deeply divided.

In the end, councillors with the Municipality of King's County voted six to five in favour of rezoning the farmland. But the decision still requires the approval of the provincial government. Some members of "No Farms, No Food," are considering legal action in the event the province also approves the rezoning.

Farmland Dispute - Across Canada

Battles like that are being fought all over Canada. And for the moment, development seems to be winning.

We spoke with three guests who are all facing some very difficult decisions about preserving farmland and permitting development. Marolyn Morrison is the Mayor of Caledon, Ontario ... a mainly rural town about 60 kilometres northwest of Toronto. Don McLean is the Mayor of Pitt Meadows, British Columbia - a primarily agricultural municipality in the lower Fraser Valley, about 40 kilometres east of Vancouver. And Frank Scarpitti is the Mayor of Markham, Ontario. It's the largest town and fastest growing municipality in Canada. And it's about 35 kilometres northeast of Toronto.


The last word this morning went to Minnie Molly Snowball. She's one of the students who was on the Students On Ice journey to Antarctica ... the one Alanna Mitchell documented for us earlier in the program. She's an Inuk from northern Quebec. And while she was in Antarctica, she and a friend decided to do some traditional Inuit throat-singing. As far as we know, this is one of the only times -- maybe even the only time -- that anyone has done this. So we left you with some of their performance, as recorded by Alanna Mitchell.

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