I grew up on a farm. My father was a family doctor, so we did not farm the land, but we had a neighbour who did. The farm was our primary residence for 5 years only, but we owned it for about 4 years before we moved into it and kept it for about 3 years after moving back into the larger town of Owen Sound.
My parents were both avid gardeners and it was always organic (although we never really used that term). I had the good fortune of picking and eating fresh strawberries, raspberries, peas, lettuce, carrots, corn, potatoes, etc. The farm property had cattle on it, we had a working barn (lightly used) and hay was taken off of the 100-acre property (sometimes we helped out with the haying). We also owned ponies, goats and rabbits at times (with dogs and cats of course).
I have a respect for the land and the heritage of farming and am quite interested in how we can maintain and promote more local supply systems for healthy Ontario food.
Professionally, my business did food supply chain study work for the Canadian government - looking at the effectiveness of food traceability systems for safety recalls and other marketing and product labeling purposes. Additionally, I have acted as a trainer with an Ontario food traceability awareness initiative. From a legislative perspective, it can be difficult to combine supply chain safety regulation concerns with smaller suppliers and the government can sometimes get in the way. I think this is at least one of the areas the Green Party is speaking of when it talks about getting away from "one-size-fits-all" regulations.
I found the article linked below interesting. I did visit the Ontario Farm Fresh site linked from the article and searched for a farm near my home. Unfortunately (as I expected) none were available right within Richmond Hill, but there are a few listed on the site that are nearby.
I recently visited the Carrville Community Garden and wrote in my blog about how it made me feel at home. That's not quite in Richmond Hill, but pretty close in neighbouring Vaughan.
It'd be interesting to carve out a few acres somewhere to preserve from development to have a tourism and education-based local farm for our town. I've heard others suggest this might be a good use for some of the David Dunlap Observatory Lands.