Having municipal staff with a knowledge and understanding of agricultural issues and systems “makes a world of difference” in rural communities, said Dr. Wayne Caldwell after he and students completed a study in Ontario’s greenbelt.
They have prepared a report after 87 elected officials from 51 municipalities responded to their survey.
More than 60 per cent indicated that municipal council members had family members who farm or had owned, grown up on, had previous work experience, or currently own or work on a farm.
Caldwell is a professor in rural planning and development at the University of Guelph.
The study revealed that there are big differences in the resources municipalities have and where they are limited “it’s more challenging for farms and agriculture to make their story be known, and to get the proper attention of the municipality to deal with issues that are really important to agriculture,” Caldwell said.
The published report is Enhancing Municipal Capacity to Support Agriculture in the Greenbelt.