Farmland decision gains widespread support

The province’s decision to refuse to develop agricultural land in Greenwich on Wednesday means good news for farmers in Kings County and supporters of locally grown food in Halifax.

There was a proposal to develop more than 150 hectares of land between Greenwich and Wolfville.

The province’s decision to refuse to develop agricultural land in Greenwich on Wednesday means good news for farmers in Kings County and supporters of locally grown food in Halifax.

There was a proposal to develop more than 150 hectares of land between Greenwich and Wolfville.

The Municipality of the County of Kings approved the proposal. The province overturned that decision.

“While I am satisfied by the municipality’s explanation that they would do all that was necessary to protect the Town of Wolfville’s drinking water supply, there was no demonstrated pressing need for development of this protected agricultural land,” said Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell in a press release Wednesday.

Lil MacPherson, co-owner of The Wooden Monkey restaurant, is proud of the stance the government took on the issue.

“I’m very proud of John MacDonell, I think he made a great decision. (The government) sees the future, it’s a good decision to make for long term security,” says MacPherson. “It’s a huge win.”

MacPherson says people need to know that “we absolutely have to start buying locally grown food or we’re going to be in massive trouble” as importing food becomes less sustainable due to “climate change and hurricanes.”

Preserving the land also means sustaining local farmers. Marilyn Cameron, an advocate for No Farms No Foods, is thrilled over the government’s decision.

“This decision is good news for farmers – maybe not for those who wanted to exit their farms and take the resource with them – but for all the young, more hopeful farmers who need farmland to be affordable and who have creative ideas on how to make farming profitable,”says Cameron.

No Farms No Food set up a petition fighting the development, collecting 3,700 signatures. Members also organized protests, held meetings and lobbied municipal and provincial politicians.

Many restaurants and organizations in Halifax depend on the supply of local food, such as The Wooden Monkey, the Seaport Farmer’s Market, Fid Resto and Pete’s Frootique.

Jason Spidel is the produce manager at Pete’s Frootique.

“You have to support the people that are your neighbours,” says Spidel.

Local produce is harder to come by this time of year, but some crops are still available such as carrots, turnips, apples and mushrooms. Spidel says whenever local produce is available Pete’s buys “as much as they can get their hands on”.

“I think farming has a great future here in Nova Scotia,” said Cameron. “(No Farms No Food) hope(s) to continue promoting the buy local movement and connecting consumers to farmers so that more fresh produce gets on more tables.”

“If we buy locally, we’re healthier,” says MacPherson.