LAND OVER LANDINGS SUPPORTERS SHARE THEIR PASSIONATE REASONS FOR DONATING TO OUR GROUNDBREAKING AG STUDY!
Karen McNair, Ladner, BC: Karen, who lives in the small community of Ladner, in Delta, a farming region of Greater Vancouver, writes – “You’d posted on [Facebook] that your group needed to raise money for the Ag Study. Now, there are a million causes out there needing funds but living in an agricultural land reserve area as I do – one that’s increasingly being challenged by withdrawals for Port facilities, new highways, industrial and, most recently, shopping mall development – your plight hits home with me.”
Margaret Atwood, Toronto: The brilliant Margaret Atwood, arguably one of the greatest writers of her generation and champion of the environment, adds her voice to our cause! – I am happy to support this effort. I can’t really imagine why they would want to put an airport there anyway (but then, my imagination is limited).” -Photo by George Whiteside
Ellen Reesor, Markham: Ellen is the owner of KIND Yoga By Heart. This unique yoga studio operates out of a greenhouse at the Reesor Farm Market, on expropriated farmland now part of the Rouge National Urban Park. Its philosophy? That “the world needs more kindness. Through yoga we learn to be more kind to ourselves, and in turn this is reflected upon all living things around us.” Ellen, like so many of her kin, has a deep connection to the land. We are deeply indebted to her for her financial support and her kind words about our efforts. She thanks us for our passion and care. We say, right back atcha! -Photo from KIND Yoga By Heart
Kenny Simmons, Pickering: As a science teacher, Pickering High School’s Kenny Simmons knows the importance of fact-based decision making, and of data collection, which is why he donated to our Ag Study. For close to a decade, he has either had us visit his grade 11 Environmental Science class or brought his students to see the Lands first hand. “It’s important for students to learn a story and then make it into something they can understand in its complexity. The chance to get out into the Federal Lands gives students an opportunity to walk the land, and to meet some of the people affected in such a multi-faceted issue. It allows students to see positive and negative changes that have occurred over time effectively in their own backyard. With the growing move for cities toward sustainable practices, it makes sense that students have an opportunity to decide for themselves why these areas could be a possible positive long term source of local agriculture, and other parts left to the natural ecosystem services as a source for clean air and water.”
Avia Eek, Holland Landing: ‘Ag-vocate’ extraordinaire Avia is a King Township councillor, but the first hat she wears is that of a Holland Marsh Farmer. She’s also a supporter of Land Over Landings and our Ag Study! “As a local Farmer and Councillor, I am focused on, and committed to bringing more awareness of the importance of agriculture to all levels of government, preserving the environment, and fostering economic development growth. I am proud to be a steward of the land while helping to feed my country. I think the piece that decision makers are missing, is that just because we have lots of land in Ontario, that doesn’t mean we have lots of arable farmland for food and farming. Projects like airports should be constructed on land that is NOT suitable for food and farming. A great example is Toronto, that had some of Ontario’s best farmland, and now it’s gone. I am passionate about, not JUST preserving Agricultural lands, because on its own that does nothing, but working together with other levels of government to make sure that agriculture remains viable. If farmers can be viable (farming IS a business), they WILL preserve the land.” -Photo by Jim Craigmyle
Pat Learmonth, Peterborough: As Director of Farms at Work, Pat co-authored the report which led to the protection of farming in the Rouge National Urban Park. She says: “The population of Ontario has outstripped the current level of food production in Ontario, according to a study by Ontario Farmland Trust in 2009. We need to save farmland for farming and especially for food production, and this land, so close to our largest urban market, is invaluable. It is also a great opportunity for new farm businesses to establish themselves over time.” Thanks, Pat, for your donation, your support, and for all you do for farming in Ontario!
Laura Bowman, Toronto: Laura is well known to everyone working for legislative change in environmental protection. We’re proud to add her as a supporter. “I’m an environmental lawyer, local food advocate and new mom,” she writes. “I donated to Land over Landings’ Ag Study campaign so my daughter can enjoy food and recreation in one of the most beautiful parts of Ontario. I love horseback riding in the area and enjoying its rich aquatic ecosystem. To turn this area into an airport would be an appalling travesty. I eagerly await federal leadership to reverse decades of poor decision-making and to use these lands for tourism, environmental protection and agriculture.”
Dr. Jennifer Laffier, Claremont: Jennifer organized an ‘Almost new clothing sale & girls night out’ and raised $650 for our Ag Study! Says Jennifer, “The Lands should be used for agriculture, environmental projects, educational programs, and a natural preserve to strengthen much-needed food growth and support balanced and healthy lifestyles. My daughter believes farmlands are important for everyone and wanted to help out with a bake sale.” Dr Laffier is a Senior Lecturer at University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa, where she teaches and researches mental health and healthy human development in the Faculty of Education. “We benefit from connection to the lands and nature. Children can benefit from more knowledge and experience with farming, gardening, and nature.”
Rob Garrard and Joanne Richter, Uxbridge: Co-owners of The Second Wedge Brewing Company, Rob and Joanne say: “At The Second Wedge Brewing Company, we value locally grown food and small-scale agriculture. It’s especially important to put land to use in responsible ways. All land is not the same, and when you realize that nearly 7,500 hectares of Class-1 soil are at stake – the world’s cream of the crop farmland – you start to understand what a devastating waste it would be to pave that all over. We’re excited about Land Over Landings’ Ag Study because it will provide validation for an alternative economic development plan that brings business and tourism to the region, while also preserving its natural assets.” Cheers, Second Wedge!
Ian McLaurin, Uxbridge: Ian is head of the Ontario Soil Regulation Task Force and knows the real dirt on soil! “Having been a part of this area for 65 years and having worked in many countries on water redevelopment projects, I am well aware of what we have and how we could lose it. Good agricultural land is too valuable to pave over. In a developing country, I’ve seen urbanization and highways strictly prohibited from prime land. They knew what was important. But I have also seen land and water and livelihoods destroyed by bad land management. We do not want to rely on imported food when the world is facing an uncertain future of climate change, protectionism, and carbon pricing in transportation. As automation and artificial intelligence destroys even knowledge jobs, farmers will continue to till the soil, nurture their crops, and transform their bounty into nutritious food. We also need to keep the streams flowing south through Pickering and Ajax running clear and cold. Not only are the stream valleys a refuge for wildlife, they are a refuge for us humans as well. Covering huge areas of their headwaters and recharge areas with runways, parking lots, and buildings would severely degrade the streams, just when we would need them to de-stress from the planes right overhead.”
Mohamed Dafer, Stouffville: On the 45th anniversary of expropriation, new supporter and donor Mohamed sat down to watch ’The Last Stand’, a documentary about the original expropriations, People or Planes, and resistance to the proposed airport. He wrote to us that he was “filled with emotions from start to end….To understand how unjust this whole situation is and know that it’s still dragging on is just so frustrating…. My parents and ancestors had their own battles on a different continent. But, as far apart as we were, I felt that your struggle was/is mine.” Moe is from Beirut, Lebanon, a city torn by wars and conflicts since 1975 when he was 9 years old. A proud Canadian since 2015, Moe and his family have recently settled in Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario. He donated to our Ag Study, saying it’s “time to hit DELETE on this project and listen to the people by turning this land into a food bank for the GTA.” Welcome to our cause, Moe!
Ron Tapscott, Pickering: Ron was just a kid when his family sold the farm in Scarborough and bought one in Pickering, where they thought life would be good. About 15 years later, they were expropriated. Ron says if it hadn’t been for the airport, he’d likely still have a thriving dairy operation today. But with one-year leases it’s been impossible to plan or invest. “I saw where [Durham Regional Chair] Roger Anderson said agriculture was the second most important business in the Region. So I called him up and asked how come he wanted to put an airport on top of farmland. He never really answered…” Tapscotts, Millers, Reesors and others who have stayed to farm these Lands want to restore mixed farming, revive communities, and make it possible for young farmers to make a productive living here, but none of that can happen until the threat of an airport is gone, and long-term leases are granted. Maybe then Ron can buy that new $600,000 combine he needs. Now that’s big business!
David Crombie, Toronto: “Food, water, and jobs. That’s the focus,” says David Crombie, former mayor of Toronto and head of the recently completed Coordinated Review of the Greenbelt. “And everything must be viewed through the lens of climate change.” Crombie has opposed a Pickering airport since the early 70s and today backs our efforts and our Ag Study. In the heart of his beloved city, flanked by the St. Lawrence Market, with the Flatiron Building and the CN Tower behind, we met to seek his guidance (as we do periodically). He is solidly onside with all our efforts, particularly bringing together decision-makers at all levels, plus the environmental, food, and ag sectors. Over 40 years ago he stood in the back of a pickup truck to bring the flag of the City of Toronto to the women occupying the house for The Last Stand. He has never flagged in that support, and today considers this cause, stopping an airport and saving these lands and water, as one goal he wants to see through to fruition! –Pictured here with our Communications head, Pat Valentine.
Stephen Bocking, Robert Paelkhe, John Wadland, Peterborough: These esteemed Trent University profs not only support our work and include it in their curriculum, but they’ve each individually donated to our Ag Study! Why? “Collectively, the three of us have taught Environmental Studies and Canadian Studies at Trent University for nearly a century. In fact, John and Bob started teaching here just around the time that a Pickering airport was first proposed, in the early 1970s. As we’ve explained ever since to generations of students, the southern Ontario countryside is a precious place: one of Canada’s most productive farming regions, with an irreplaceable natural heritage of woods, streams, and wetlands. It deserves protection, not transformation into an airport that makes no economic sense. So we are so pleased to be able to support Land Over Landings and all its efforts.” –Photo left to right: Stephen Bocking (School of the Environment, including Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems); Robert Paelkhe (founding editor of the Alternatives Journal, Canada’s Environmental Voice), and John Wadland (co-creator and long-time chair of Trent’s ground-breaking Canadian Studies programme)
Steve Graham and Ann Ward, Whitevale: We are so grateful to Steven and Ann of Herongate Barn Dinner Theatre for giving us the opportunity of a fundraiser this past March. Herongate has been a landmark on the Rouge-Duffins Ag Preserve for 43 years, providing great entertainment and a shining example of what agritourism could be on the Federal Lands. The original Hornshaw farm was expropriated by the province on March 2, 1972, for a satellite city that never came, to support an airport that was never built. But thanks to Steve and Ann, the buildings have been preserved, and Herongate has been the site of many events over the years to celebrate the rich farmlands, the agricultural heritage, and the precious ecosystem of the West Duffins Watershed. Steve and Ann, great neighbours and community members who believe in #FoodNotFlights!
Jerry Mihailoff and Charles Sopher, Whitevale: There’s a reason why the charming heritage Hamlet of Whitevale has more #NoPickeringAirport signs than anywhere else, and that the community slogan is “Illegitimi non carborundum” (Don’t let the bast*rds grind you down). On March 2, 1972, Whitevale was within the 25,000 acres expropriated by the Province for a new city to support the federal expropriation of 18,600 acres to the north for a new airport. After Ontario pulled out of the deal and the airport was shelved, Whitevale was sold back. It thrives today, in large part due to a vigourous community. Jerry (left) has donated generously to our Ag Study, while Whitevale Ratepayers Association Treasurer, Charles issued a matching challenge: “These tireless proponents of foodland versus airport have commissioned a study on the economic feasibility and benefits of using the land set aside for the future airport, for agriculture instead. They are now only about $20,000 short of their goal. I will match donations dollar for dollar up to $500.” Thank you, Jerry and Charles, good neighbours indeed!
Cam Scott, Pickering: High School Geography teacher Cam Scott has always made Land Over Landings part of his curriculum, even bringing his students out of the classroom to tour the Lands. As a teacher in Durham Region for 30 years, a former student of Pickering High School, and a former resident of the community of Greenwood, he has donated to our Ag Study because “after 40+ years of study, it’s clear the GTA just does not need another major airport. But we do need food! With our population ever growing we need land for food, and the best agricultural land in Canada is in North Pickering. It is ‘Because food is a growing concern’ and can not be grown under tarmac that I feel we need to stop this ridiculous idea and understand that it is ‘food’, not planes, that we need in our backyard.” Thanks, Cam! We couldn’t agree more!
Sandra Campbell and Cookie Roscoe, Toronto: Super local-food champions, Sandra (left) and Cookie were happy to donate to the cause of Land Over Landings’ Ag Study. Sandra, author of The Moveable Airport and creative mind behind Abundance GTA, loves her Saturday mornings at Wychwood Barns Farmers Market, where Cookie is the manager. Sandra says “Let’s open the Pickering Lands for growers to feed many more of us! Great food/good jobs!” Cookie grins and adds, “Without food, we’re screwed:-).” Thanks for your donations and your passion for the cause of local food. You’re the best!
Alison Ellwood, Ajax: Alison, an elementary school teacher in Ajax, has been involved with Land Over Landings for several years now, teaching children about the value of farmland with The Potato Project. She has also donated to our Ag Study because “supporting local farms matters – on all levels. As a teacher and parent, connecting kids to our earth, water and soil is critical to raising healthy, informed leaders of tomorrow. We have been lucky enough to plant potatoes with Jim Miller these past few years and the experience has had considerable impact on the well-being of our community. Students plant and harvest potatoes on Jim’s land. They learn how to cook them up and then share them with our breakfast club. Students are just beginning to grasp the idea that food comes from the soil – not the grocery store! Big thanks to Mary for introducing us and to Jim for his generosity and dedication to this project.” Thanks to you, Alison, and a big LOL welcome to the new little man in your life!
Audrey and Jeff Morgan, Ajax: As People or Planes “POP” kids in the 70s and as Land Over Landings supporters now, Audrey and Jeff are “happy to support an Agricultural Study of the North Pickering ‘Airport’ Lands to prove – what seems obvious to us – that sane, sustainable agricultural practices and spin-off industries can generate the kind of economic growth that citizens and politicians crave.” As Manager and Sr. Buyer at Ajax’s Health Plus Nutrition Centre, Audrey is “fully aware of the power and benefit of a healthy diet of fresh food. Jeff is a tv editor and avid gardener who champions the perfect garlic bulb! Together they understand that supporting the agricultural land of Pickering benefits us ALL, locally and beyond…..and stimulates economic, environmental and personal health.”
Celia Klemenz, Claremont: Celia, long-time supporter and creator of our fabulous green & white logo, says it tore out a piece of her heart to sell her farm in Saskatchewan. “It seems so appropriate to donate funds from a farm sale to help ensure this prime land remains farmland to feed us all. The prairie land is in dire straits,” writes Celia. “I chose to donate to the Green Durham and Land Over Landings’ Ag Study in hopes that the Pickering lands will remain agricultural… We had two quarters, which translates to 320 acres, complete with a number of sloughs and the house, barn, bins and yard. The prairies are not the bread basket they used to be. Climate change has resulted in very unpredictable weather, droughts, flooding, hail and insects. It is so important to retain this land (Pickering lands) as farmland.” We thank you and John from the bottom of our hearts, Celia, for your passion and dedication to the cause, and now for this gift. –Photo by John Frechette
Dr. Peter Moore, Markham: Fitness and health are kind of Peter’s ’thing’. So is community. And after over two decades of driving from home to work and back across Highway Seven he is as familiar as anybody with the changes in our rural landscape. On the wall of the heritage building that houses his chiropractic office on Main Street Markham hangs this painting of a farm. The house and barn, beautifully rendered by Dr. Moore’s patient William H. Tomkins, formerly stood at 16th Avenue and Kennedy Road in Markham. ‘Dr. Pete’ writes: “The loss of the Beckett farm to urban sprawl is a stark reminder of how important Land Over Landings has been in the fight against the loss of more and more precious farmland.” We thank Peter, his wife Jessica Moore (Registered Massage Therapist) and staff at the Moore Chiropractic Clinic for their donation to our study, and for their ongoing commitment to community.
Doug Moffatt, Uxbridge: What a guy to have in our corner!! Listing Doug Moffatt’s CV is exhausting. Former school principal in Pickering, Hampton, Orono; Mayor of Township of Scugog; Chair of the committee to create the first ever Durham Region Strategic Plan; Chair of the Durham Regional Police Service Board; small business owner; elected MPP along with POP leader Dr Charles Godfrey in 1975 on a ticket to stop the proposed Pickering airport; founding member of the The Highlands of Durham Games in Uxbridge; with his wife, Saundra Reiner-Moffatt a passionate supporter of arts and culture; and (his own words) ‘inveterate s**t disturber’ — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! He had his first farm job at the age of 14 and eventually owned three farms. For 45 years he’s known we need more farmland, not less, and he recently put his money where his mouth is with a generous donation to our Ag Study, with its focus on producing jobs in agriculture and agritourism. He is a vigorous supporter who never misses the chance to encourage his fellow Uxbridge residents to support our cause, and we are in his debt. It’s energy and passion like Doug’s that keeps us going!
Natalia Shields, Dunnville: Natalia’s iconic photo of the ‘Melancthon Potato Field Tree’ became the visual background for the message of Food and Water First, our good friends and partners. Today, with her generous donation to our Ag Study, Natalia stands with us and our work in Pickering “protecting prime farmland from commercial development, urban sprawl, and unnecessary airports!…. I’m very much in support of preserving farmland and also worry about food security in the not too distant future. This farmland is part of Ontario’s agricultural future. Food and water come first!” Thanks, Natalia, for your generous donation!
Michael Deegan, Whitby: Welcome to our newest donor and partner, the fledgling Durham Distillery! In fact it’s so new, it hasn’t even got a permanent location yet. We first connected when co-owner Michael Deegan asked if he could source locally grown grain. Michael, pictured here assembling stills and discussing labels with business partner Chris Ferg, is excited to make this a local product. Which is why he donated to our Ag Study! “Local agriculture is a natural resource for local food and beverage industries. Like all natural resources it needs to be protected and given the opportunity to flourish. The health and quality of agricultural land directly affects the local business that use it.” Stay tuned for more on this exciting new venture.
Joanne Azevedo, Ajax: Former Land Over Landings’ executive member Joanne is still passionate about the work we do, and showed her support with a donation to our Ag Study. “My concern is not just about refusing the plan for an unnecessary, ill-conceived airport; I am also concerned about the need to plan for balanced, sustainable communities. It is so important for us to imagine a world where we consider more than just the corporate bottom line; where we imagine, envision and strive for a community that is balanced and healthy. There is a crucial need for local family farms to produce healthy food for our community and that includes ensuring that agricultural workers are treated fairly and paid a living wage. What we eat, where we get our food, how we treat the people and animals – all of those elements of how our food is produced are crucial parts of a healthy community.” Joanne (left) is seen here with Canadian Union of Public Employees member Mary Jo Falle in 2013 when, thanks largely to Joanne’s efforts, NDP (Canada) Opposition MPs as well as reps from a variety of NGOs visited the Lands following the re-announcement of the airport by then Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Today Joanne, a PhD candidate at York University Graduate School of Social Work, continues her advocacy as co-chair on both the CUPE National Environment Committee and the CUPE Ontario Environmental Working Group. Thanks, Joanne!
Pascoe Family: Locals used to call Ken Pascoe ‘the man who built Brougham’. So what a thrill for us to meet his widow, Barbara, along with two of his daughters, Denise and Debbie at our ‘Bring It Home’ Harvest Festival in September!! Ken was a builder, and was responsible for most of the ‘new’ homes built just before expropriation, including ‘the subdivision’ on Donnalea Street, named for his other daughter. We were honoured to meet this family, thrilled to connect them with other former residents, and grateful to receive their donation to our Ag Study!
Bruce Gibson, Port Perry: It was a bittersweet homecoming for Bruce Gibson and his wife, Debbie Kowal, as they remember only too well how vibrant their community was before expropriation. But at our ‘Bring It Home’ Harvest Festival in September the mood quickly turned to sweet reunions and delicious food — and hopefully a renewed connection to Bruce’s old hometown! To help that renewal along, Bruce made a generous donation to our Ag Study. As the son of Don Gibson, the man who created the famous ‘Good Things Gro-ow-ow in Ontario ‘ marketing campaign, Bruce knows these Lands should be for the production of food. Thank you!
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