Farmland Forum comes to Prince Edward County on April 5

(Gazette file photo)

The county will welcome representatives of the agricultural sector from across the province next month.

The Ontario Farmland Trust (OFT) will be hosting their 14th annual Farmland Forum at the Wellington and District Community Centre on April 5. The daylong program opens with registration at 8:30 a.m.

The theme for this year’s forum is Building Farmland Viability in Ontario and will include guest speakers and discussion panels on several topics including planning strategies and tools to support and preserve the agri-food industry in Ontario, farmland viability and land use planning in the province, and success stories from the field.

Mayor Robert Quaiff says in a news release from the municipality the event offers a chance to shine a light on the county’s agricultural roots.

“Agriculture represents an essential aspect of our municipality’s economic, cultural and historical identity,” says Quaiff. “The Farmland Forum is an exciting opportunity to showcase our rich farmland and learn more about how we can strengthen and protect this vital resource now and in the future.”

The keynote speaker for the event is Kim Grout of the Agricultural Land Commission in British Columbia. Grout will delve into B.C.’s experience supporting farmland protection and viability through a tool called the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). The ALR is a provincial zone where agriculture is identified as the priority use. The ALR has allowed the province to protect 4.6 million hectares of land suitable for farming.

The forum will also feature a panel discussion that will examine how farms in Prince Edward County has successfully diversified their operations within the context of land use planning.

The forum will be preceded with by an informal question and answer session on April 4 at 7 p.m. at Midtown Brewing Company. There, OFT executive director Kathryn Enders will take questions on farmland easement agreements.

“The forum is about dialogue and creative-thinking in support of new tools, partnerships, policy, and grassroots approaches that result in leadership and action on farmland preservation and viability in Ontario,” Enders says in the release. “Anyone involved in farmland protection in Ontario, or anyone who has an interest in engaging more with this issue, should attend.”

The OFT strives to protect and preserve farmlands across the province as well as associated natural and cultural features. The charitable organization does that through policy research and education, direct land securement and stewardship.

The event is being co-hosted by the municipality, the Prince Edward Federation of Agriculture, the Prince Edward Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, and the Prince Edward County Winegrowers Association.

Registration for the Farmland Forum is now open. Tickets can be purchased online at For more information on the Farmland Forum visit

A limited number of free registrations are available for young farmers, 4H members, and students. Contact community development co-ordinator Grace Nyman at [email protected] or 613-476-2148 ext. 2502 for more information or to see if you qualify.

—Gazette Staff