This is a very thought-provoking letter published in the Barrie Examiner Dec. 27, 2012

How can we save our best farmland?

Is this not a question we should be asking of our elected representatives at all levels? Let us consider the following.

According to the Ontario Farmland Trust, we have already lost 18% of our prime farmland to urbanization in the last few decades alone. Presently, we are losing the equivalent of one 100-acre farm every day.

Worldwide, the demand for input-intensive meat, egg and dairy products is increasing exponentially. Meanwhile, the consequences of climate change such as massive droughts and catastrophic floods are sending food prices through the roof and are projected to become much worse.

Unsustainable farming practices in Australia, the United States, western Canada, Latin America, Asia and Africa are causing widespread salinization, decertification, toxification and erosion.

However, in Ontario we have just witnessed a wonderful success in preserving 900 hectares of precious food land. Through a broadly based grassroots movement that raised the alarm far and wide, the Megaquarry was stopped in its tracks. It was the life- sustaining food and water source that would have been destroyed forever that prompted people to wake up and ask probing questions that the proponents of the quarry could not answer.

But what about our own equivalent of the Megaquarry? At 756 hectares, the loss of prime farmland to the Midhurst Secondary Plan approaches that of the Megaquarry.

The impact on food production for Barrie and the residents of the proposed developments would also approach those of the Megaquarry.

We would have many more people to feed and less land to provide the food for them.

Is it not time for everyone who wants to put food on the table to raise the alarm?

Does this not include everyone? As in the case of the Megaquarry, this is no longer a local issue when food and water are involved.

Do we not all want to eat? Therefore, do we not all want to become involved? Can we not emulate the stalwarts who slew the Goliaths of the Megaquarry? Is it not time to ask some serious questions?

Bill Nieuwland