The Future of Peterborough Food & Farming

The following is taken from the Executive Summary of a discussion paper recently released by Peterborough Social Planning Council and Farms at Work, entitled “The Future of Peterborough Food & Farming: A Call for Reflection & Discussion”. The paper was presented to County Council in October 2011, and can be found at
“The purpose of this discussion paper is to raise awareness about our changing farm community
within the context of local food production. It serves to pose questions about change in the
Peterborough area, as well as provide a picture of the evolution that has occurred in the past
decades. Further, we hope that by asking questions, we increase the interest of the public about
the important role that agriculture plays in our economic and social fabric. Finally, this paper is
intended as an awareness raising document that will support the intent of the upcoming “Bring
Food Home” conference scheduled in Peterborough for October 27 to 29, 2011.
Questions to Guide our Future Planning
The following questions should be considered by local, provincial and federal decision makers as
well as community change agents, as we look at the planning of Peterborough county and city:
1. How will the loss of farm families impact the social fabric of the farm community?
What impact will this have on small community service centres and schools?
2. What would we need to do to produce enough food to feed Peterborough County/City?
What is Peterborough’s role in providing food to Ontario?
3. What is the role of public education in ensuring food literacy among all age groups
and sectors of our community?
4. What role can land use planning take in protecting the future of farming in our
County? How are the recommendations in Menu 20/20 reflected in other important
documents affecting Peterborough such as the Places to Grow legislation?
5. As a community, how does Peterborough increase awareness of the link between good
food and good health?
6. Can encouraging new farmers to establish businesses in Peterborough help support a
strong agricultural community for the future and keep farmland in production?
7. Are there areas of production where the County could increase local production to
better satisfy local demand?
8. How are we planning to ensure that our local primary processing infrastructure will be
sufficient into the future? (Eg. abattoirs, mills, freezing and canning facilities).
9. Are our local regulatory decisions keeping pace with the needs of farm businesses to
eg diversify into small on-farm processing activities, or host farm help on the farm?
10. What is the impact of the increasing price of farmland and the costs of land,
machinery, buildings and quota as barriers to new entrants?
11. How will we enable our farm community to recover the value of their environmental
contributions/ecological goods and services (eg. protection of water and habitat) from
12.What role will urban agriculture play in our future?”