Feeding The Land Between: A TLB-led research project
The goal of our Feeding The Land Between project is to build and empower a regional network to take action and increase capacity for a food-secure Ontario. We believe that this can be achieved through partnership and collaboration.
You can learn more about our research and our plan to ensure Ontario is food-secure for generations to come below.
Watch our research highlights to date via the above video!
The State of Agriculture & Why the Feeding The Land Between Project is Necessary
Food security is not just an issue for Ontario or Canada. It is truly a global problem with various economic, social, and environmental threats that often work synergistically.
The Land Between: An Area of Agricultural Opportunity
The Land Between (TLB) is a bioregion spanning Parry Sound and Orillia in the west to the Ottawa Valley in the east. Our research has determined four key factors that make TLB an extremely suitable place for growing food to help create a food-secure Ontario.
The region's environment provides many ecosystem services, like water filtration and pollination, to farmers free of charge. These services would be extremely costly to replicate with human-made infrastructure in other areas.
Agriculture has a long heritage in The Land Between. Throughout the region's history, farmers have had to adapt their practices to a dynamic and challenging landscape. This has resulted in a farming culture that is both adaptable and resilient.
Land in The Land Between is particularly well suited for livestock and greenhouse growing. Much of this capacity, however, is going underutilizing due to a number of the threats previously mentioned, like a loss of farmers in the region.
Purchasing and operating a farm is significantly cheaper in The Land Between compared to Ontario's average. It is 50-60% less expensive to operate a farm here than in almost every other region in Southern Ontario.
Our Plan for a Food Secure Future
Despite the fact that TLB offers a unique opportunity to achieve food security in Ontario, it is not immune to the challenges facing agriculture as a whole, namely a lack of new farmers, difficulty in getting products to market, and more. With our foundational research laid into the threats facing agriculture in Ontario and beyond along with identifying TLB as an area of opportunity, the next stage of our Feeding The Land Between project involves an action-driven plan to reinvigorate agriculture in TLB.
Host stakeholder input and networking sessions
These networking sessions will include stakeholders, like farmers, distributors, market organizers, municipalities, and more.
Create space for connections and community building
Networking sessions will create space for food security stakeholders as well as capacity within the community, providing participants with more resources and outlets for training.
Identify areas of opportunity and priority actions to take
Based on feedback from networking sessions as well as other conversations, we can come up with a collaborative approach for prioritizing outcomes to advance food security in TLB and beyond.
Create local action plans and a dynamic regional strategy
With information and lessons learned in steps one through three, we can develop an informed and evidence-based plan that is outcome-driven for reducing food insecurity in Ontario. We can also determine the necessary resources to be developed.
Execute priority actions to reinvigorate farming in TLB
The final step involves preparing resources and executing on our strategy plan to enhance agricultural capacity, adaptation, and networks across the TLB region, the province of Ontario, and beyond. Through this, we can ensure that Ontarians are food-secure not only now, but also in the future.
We also plan to work with the amazing organizations that are already working in this capacity by supporting their strategic actions with data modelling at watershed scales, comprehensive research and analyses at all scales, and regional networking. Additionally, we'll facilitate the sharing of their expertise and learnings to highlight their leadership with those who are at an earlier stage.
Feeding The Land Between: Next Stage Outcomes
Equipped with the information generated through the collaboration outlined above, we plan to produce five key resources to reinvigorate agriculture in TLB.
Read the Full Report
You can access our full research report into the status of agriculture in Ontario, the threats facing agriculture now and in the future, and a deep dive into TLB as an area of opportunity for a food-secure future. This research culminated in 2021 thanks to the tireless research of our analysts who dissected 20 years of agricultural census data along with interviews with key stakeholders, including local farmers.
What you can do?
The below are easy but impactful steps from small to big!
If you are interested in sponsoring or funding the next phase of Feeding The Land Between, are an early stage or existing organization working to profile agriculture and food security in Southern Ontario, or if you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us via the form below!