Ontario Federation of Agriculture Commentary By Eleanor Renaud, OFA Director
Summer on Ontario farms marks a season of growth. The planning and planting is complete and now every farmer in Ontario is closely watching the weather, hoping for the right combination of heat, rain and sunlight for the promise of a healthy harvest.
For Ontario consumers, summer marks the availability of local, fresh produce at farm stands, farmers’ markets and grocery stores. Healthy, local Ontario-grown food is available all year long, but summer offers the widest variety of the more than 200 different commodities grown and produced right here in Ontario.
Our farming activities contribute to Ontario in many other ways. Ontario’s food system is a major economic engine for the province – agriculture contributes $13.7 billion to Ontario’s annual GDP and $1.4 billion in provincial tax revenues. Farmers are important environmental stewards, managing water recharge areas, reducing greenhouse gases by sequestering carbon in soil and contributing to soil health to ensure sustainable farming for future generations.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is proud to represent 36,000 farm businesses that contribute to the abundance of nutritious food available in Ontario. This year marks a milestone anniversary for OFA – advocating for Ontario agriculture for 80 years. OFA’s 80th celebration includes three new student bursaries, a farm gate sign contest, the 80 for 80 trivia contest, and members can sign up for a special trip to the World Ag Expo in California in 2017. Many of our county federations are also celebrating anniversary events throughout the year. Visit ofa.on.ca or contact your local county federation for more anniversary event details.
Summer is one of the busiest seasons for Ontario farmers. OFA wishes all our members a safe and productive summer growing season.