In Canada’s Capital Greenbelt, the NCC rents 5,400 hectares of farmland to farmers. The land quality and the favourable climate mean that a wide variety of crops can be produced locally.
With close to 1.5 million residents living in the region, we have the opportunity to develop a vibrant, dynamic farming sector where small and medium-sized farms can respond to local demand.
As food needs grow and land and soil are becoming increasingly scarce, the NCC recognizes the importance of agriculture and the value of Greenbelt farmland.
Thus, we are developing a strategy to integrate food and agriculture into the planning of the Capital.
In addition, we also have a strategy to rehabilitate historically significant barns in the Greenbelt.
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Strategy
The Sustainable Agriculture and Food Strategy aims to:
- enhance sustainable use of resources;
- strengthen regional food resiliency;
- increase diversification of farms and products; and
- increase visibility and connectivity with local communities.
We expect to have the strategy completed by fall/winter 2021–2022. In the meantime, you may consult the draft version.
What is sustainable agriculture?
Sustainable agriculture is about integrating environmental stewardship, economic profitability and social responsibility.
Farmers are ones making it happen!
We work with the farmers in the Greenbelt to introduce more sustainable farming principles. Many of them have already adopted sustainable agriculture practices, including:
- Precision agriculture: using satellite and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to increase sustainability of field crops by minimizing required inputs and maximizing productivity.
- Organic farming: we strongly encourage organic agriculture in the Greenbelt. Currently, many farms in the Greenbelt have organic certification. Many of the Greenbelt farmers who are not organic producers are minimizing the use of pesticides.
- Sustainable farming development programs: some farms are teaching youth and children how to employ sustainable practices in farming, and what this means for our future.
Barn rehabilitation strategy
Did you know that there are 84 historically significant agricultural barns in the Greenbelt? Most of these barns are used for crop storage, cold storage, packaging and processing, as well as to house livestock.
To preserve the rich rural landscapes and heritage features of Canada’s Capital Greenbelt, the NCC started implementing a barn rehabilitation strategy in 2017.
Since then, the NCC has renovated five barns, and will continue its work, starting with the barns that are in critical to fair condition and working onwards.