This summer, I joined Environmental Defence as a visual communications intern. As part of my internship, I was lucky to visit farms in Ontario’s Greenbelt.

It was an eye-opening experience. Being able to see where the food I eat comes from gave me a whole new appreciation for the fruits and vegetables I buy at my local farmers’ market. The experience made me feel more connected to the food I use when preparing lunch and dinner.

Like many Toronto residents, it’s not often I get a chance to see where my food comes from. So jumped at the chance to visit  Carron Farms in the Holland Marsh region, and two fruit and vegetable farms (PV’s Fruit & Veg, and Greg’s Fruit & Veg) in the Niagara region.

A tractor lifts onions from Carron Farms out of the dirt to allow them to dry out before harvesting.

The people I met at all three farms were friendly and patiently chatted with me about what it’s like to farm in Ontario’s Greenbelt. I was there to take photographs (and as you can see from the photos here I did that), but each time I also left with arms full of fresh crops. I can still taste the delicious peaches. They were the best peaches I ever had!

A peach ready to be harvested, at Greg Latanik’s Fruit and Veg farm in the Niagara Region.

After visiting farms in the Greenbelt, I was inspired to learn more about the Greenbelt’s connection to local food.

Did you know there are over 7,000 farms in the Greenbelt? Here are some other Greenbelt food fun facts: Ontario’s Greenbelt produces 27 per cent of Ontario’s apples, 42 per cent of Ontario’s raspberries, 50 per cent of Ontario sour cherries, 88 per cent of Ontario’s peaches, and over 85 per cent of Ontario’s grapes. Nearly 90 per cent of Ontario’s vineyards are in the Greenbelt.

Vibrant, blue plums grow at PV’s Fruit and Veg farm in the Niagara region.

Ontario’s Greenbelt protects environmentally sensitive land and farmland from urban sprawl. But the visits to the farms made me understand something else too. Ontario’s Greenbelt provides people in Ontario, including my own family, with access to delicious and fresh local fruits and vegetables.

You can help protect Ontario’s Greenbelt. Take the Greenbelt Pledge today!

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