Green space … Niagara covers 1,854.17 square kilometres and has a population density of 230.5 persons per square kilometre. Ontario has a population density of 13.4 persons per square kilometres.
[pull_quote align=”right”]Ecosystems and Natural Areas: in 2060 Niagara will have healthy, well-maintained and resilient natural systems that boast a wide range of species, clean air and water, and a green landscape.[/pull_quote]Agricultural lands and farming: Niagara has rich agricultural lands for growing tender fruits, wine grapes, vegetables, field crops (soybeans, corn, wheat), greenhouse vegetables and flowers, as well as livestock and poultry. Niagara re-designated 129 hectares of land that were originally designated for agricultural purposes for other uses during 2006, higher than the Ontario Municipal Benchmark Initiative (OMBI) average of 77 hectares. A total of 1193 hectares of Niagara’s agricultural land has been re-designated for other purposes since 2000, higher than the OMBI average of 318.4 hectares. In 2007, 1,130 hectares of land were returned to agricultural purposes. Source: OMBI, CAO 2009
The Greenbelt … Both the Escarpment Plan and the Ontario Greenbelt Plan (2005) identify areas not suitable for urban growth and a majority of Niagara’s land base is classified as Prime Agricultural Land. As the world’s largest greenbelt at 1.8 million acres of working countryside, it spans across the Greater Golden Horseshoe and extends to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. Source: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page187.aspx
It has been advocated that creating land use policy such as the Greenbelt needs to be balanced with the existence of a framework that allows for families whose farm properties have been included in the Greenbelt to make a reasonable living growing crops and being stewards of the land.
[pull_quote align=”right”]Agriculture and Food: in 2060 Niagara will have an abundance of agricultural land that produces quality products, supports a strong farming community, fosters a unique sense of identity, and an agricultural sector that continues to be an important economic driver.[/pull_quote]Farms… Niagara Region is home to over 1,500 farms; most are less than 52 hectares in size, with an average size of 35 hectares. The sales per farm are nearly 32% above the provincial average with fruit production being the dominant agricultural economic activity in Niagara. Based on the 2006 Farm Census, Niagara’s farms reported a total of just over 23,000 hectares of tender fruit. With two-thirds of Ontario’s tender fruit orchards located in the Niagara region, these orchards account for the majority of the province’s peaches, cherries, pears, plums, prunes and grapes. In addition to tender fruit, Niagara grows soybeans, vegetables and other crops. Floriculture and greenhouse crops are the leading crop. A Niagara Agricultural Impact Study was developed in 2003 (update in 2010). Niagara has dairy and beef farms and one of the highest concentrations of poultry farms in Canada.
Niagara Parks Commission … Niagara is also home to the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture which was established in 1936 in Niagara Falls, Ontario and remains Canada’s only residential school for Horticulture studies.
Niagara College … In 2000, the Niagara on the Lake campus of Niagara College established the Winery and Viticulture Technician program which was the first of its kind in Canada. Presently located amidst 38 acres of College vineyards, the teaching winery allows the students to have immediate access to a hands-on experience in a real-time working environment to produce award winning wines. In the fall of 2008, Niagara College has opened doors to the new post graduate certificate program in Wine Business Management which is also the first and only Wine Business Program in Canada.
Brock University … has a Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Program (CCOVI) which was developed in partnership with the Grape Growers of Ontario and the Wine Council of Ontario in 1996. CCOVI is an internationally recognized research institute focused on research priorities of the Canadian grape and wine industry and the continuing educational and outreach services needs of that community. The vision of CCOVI is to be Canada’s centre of excellence with respect to the generation and dissemination of knowledge on cool climate viticulture, oenology, wine business, policy, wine tourism, wine culture and policy issues. CCOVI provides continuing education, professional development opportunities and outreach services for the grape and wine community and the community at large, to facilitate the advancement of the industry.
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre … located on a site gifted by Moses a Rittenhouse in 1906 to benefit the tender fruit and grape sectors and more recently the wine and greenhouse industries as “An internationally recognized centre of horticultural research and innovation excellence and a force in the delivery of horticulture technology.” Source: www.vinelandresearch.com