May 28, 2015 · 0 Comments
The North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce (NDACT) harvests growing awareness by spreading the seeds of change with simple lawn signs. In recent years, the familiar red and white NDACT signs have sprung up from lawns across the country with a clear and vital message to put “Food and Water First.” This spring, the organization that stopped the mega quarry is taking that message on the road with mobile signs designed to attach to the back of fleet vehicles.
NDACT continues to stress the need for an ongoing, united front on the Food and Water First mandate to protect prime farmland and source water, and now roving signs will give that message even greater visibility. When STOP the MEGA QUARRY SIGNS began appearing throughout the province, citizens and politicians paid attention. Recently, Shirley Boxem, Vice Chair voiced concerns about “keeping this issue at the forefront, as the legislative rules have not changed and the very same mega quarry application could be applied for today.”
The organization reminds supporters that although “Melancthon fields may be secure, Ontario’s prime farmland and source water regions remain vulnerable” to development and corporate exploitation. The current Provincial Policy Statement still mandates the allowance of aggregate extraction on prime agricultural and source water lands putting food and water at risk. According to Stats Canada, between 2001 and 2011, nearly 29 per cent of the most productive farmland between Windsor and Quebec City, almost one million hectares, went out of food production.
Some of the roving signs are already out and moving across the province and country on fleet vehicles, including those of Lennox Farms and Peace Valley Ranch. Former NDACT Chair and owner of Peace Valley Ranch, Carl Cosack says, their trailer will travel all over southern and central Ontario. “The sign is a great way to share our message that class 1 farmland must be protected for future generations to decide if they indeed want to grow their own food or rely on other jurisdictions to feed them. We have the responsibility to afford them that choice. “
Cosack reports that NDACT’s board and the “Food & Water First” campaign hope that other companies, farmers, and their suppliers will carry the 22 by 27 inch signs on their trucks “to show decision makers that we have learned from the mega quarry application and need policy change. “The more signs we get travelling, the more the public will be engaged and support that all important policy change.”
“It is really a no brainer,” says Cosack, “you can hardly pick up a paper these days and not read about water shortages, and loss of soil and farmland. With an ever increasing population globally, as well as right here in Ontario, the job creating economy of agriculture and food is fundamental to our life and prosperity. It is simply rooted in the availability of soil, and we, here in Ontario, are the envy of all of North America for our soil and water riches. It takes nothing to destroy it, and only a little foresight to protect it.”
If you would like to show your support by applying one of NDACT’s roving billboards to a fleet vehicle, please contact info@ndact for details and tweet a photo if you see a roving @FoodWaterFirst at #FoodAndWaterFirst. Food & Water First Lawn signs are free and available at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can drive by 429 First Avenue East, in Shelburne and grab a sign off the lawn, with no appointment necessary.
By Marni Walsh