On her Hall Marks blog, Spec reporter Nicole MacIntyre invited readers to comment on the fact that most of the vendors at the Farmer's Market are not farmers and many are produce resellers.
In the comments, Nick Giannini, Past President and Committee Member of the Stallholders' Association and owner of N. Giannini Meat Market Ltd., wrote: "Farmers also left because of urban sprawl continuing into prime farm land" and "Councillors Mitchell and Pasuta should be leading the way to help preserve the history of the market".
To this we must add add: Councillors Mitchell and Pasuta should be leading the way to help preserve the prime farm land by opposing the sprawl development that is encroaching on it.
In a recent Planning Committee meeting, Mitchell and Pasuta, along with Maria Pearson, Brad Clark, and Lloyd Ferguson, voted to overturn the staff recommendation to deny Losani Homes' request to re-zone a commercial greenfield in Stoney Creek to residential. (The request was subsequently voted down in full council.)
Granted, the commercial greenfield in question is not prime farm land, but it would help to accelerate the trajectory of investment and infrastructure building that is encroaching on farm land.
Every new greenfield development moves the city's centre of gravity away from its geographic centre and increases the pressure to build more roads, widen existing roads, and expand further into undeveloped land - of which our renowned farm land is the most valuable.
Councillor Pasuta's support for the Losani bid may simply be due to inexperience; time will tell. However, Mitchell has has a track record of supporting sprawl development even as he drives a rhetorical wedge between the urban core, which he appears to resent, and the rurals he is supposed to represent.
If these councillors are serious about preserving farm land and rural lifestyles and economies, they should be among the most vigorous urbanists: encouraging densification and infill development; building relationships with "eat local" organizations and other groups that promote sustainability; and seeking above all to constrain the growth of property speculation and suburban sprawl.
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