Earth Day Celebrated with Greenbelt-Focused Environmental Projects

Friends of the Greenbelt Announces Latest Earth-friendly Grants

TORONTO, April 21 /CNW/ - On the eve of Earth Day, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation today announces its most recent grants - projects that focus on one of Ontario's most prized environmental assets - the 1.8 million acres of protected land that surrounds the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

"When Earth day was created in 1970, it gave a voice to those who wanted environmental protection to be become a global priority," said Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Foundation. "Today, environmental success stories like the Greenbelt happen when environmental advocates succeed not only in articulating our environmental challenges but marrying them with pragmatic solutions. The recipients of these grants are a part of that legacy."

The goal of the Foundation is to nurture and support activities that preserve and enhance the Greenbelt's agricultural, rural and ecological integrity and viability. To that end, the Foundation is committed to:

    
    -   supporting a robust agricultural sector
    -   protecting the natural environment
    -   championing a strong and successful countryside
    -   promoting smart patterns of urban settlement
    -   advancing awareness, understanding and support for the Greenbelt
    

Since its inception the Foundation has given out $14.5 million dollars on agricultural, environmental and rurally focused projects located throughout the Greenbelt.

The following is a list of grants made in the current calendar year:

    
    Promoting the Value of Ontario's Greenbelt Natural Capital
    David Suzuki Foundation (DSF)                                   $100,000
    

The project builds on the previous work DSF did to value the Greenbelt's natural capital at $2.6 billion in annual benefits. DSF is reaching out to government and industry leaders to discuss ways the Greenbelt's natural capital can be maintained and increased, in particular acknowledging the Greenbelt's role in mitigating climate change, providing clean water, and protecting wildlife habitats.

    
    Greenbelt Wetlands Protection Assessment Project
    Ecojustice                                                      $173,000
    

A joint project with Ducks Unlimited Canada, Ontario Nature and Earthroots, the partnership is reviewing provincial wetland and water regulations to determine if they are achieving the intended goals of "ecological integrity and hydrological function" supported in the Greenbelt Plan. The research appraises Ontario policies, consults with municipal planners and identifies successes, weaknesses and challenges under the current policy and regulation framework.

    
    Eat Local Map 2010
    Conserver Society of Hamilton                                     $8,500
    

Available in print and online, the map is a directory of farms, retails stores and farmers' markets in the Hamilton area to help residents and businesses access local food. The Map also includes information on the importance of local food to our health, the environment and farm families; and, how the Greenbelt preserves farmland and contributes to a local food network.

    
    Greenbeltfresh Online Marketplace Launch
    Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA)                         $10,000
    

OCTA is assisting the Foundation with the launch of Greenbeltfresh.ca, an extensive online directory of Greenbelt farms and products. OCTA is testing the website with potential users, connecting the Foundation with industry stakeholders and interested media, and organizing the official launch for spring 2010.

    
    Growing the Greenbelt
    Sierra Club Ontario Chapter                                      $80,000
    

The project generates municipal applications to grow the Greenbelt in Halton and Peel, along the Credit River. It also provides support to other communities investigating the benefits of the growing the Greenbelt in order to better protect water quality and natural features.

    
    Bike Train Greenbelt Express 2010
    Waterfront Regeneration Trust                                    $40,000
    

The project promotes the Greenbelt as an attractive destination for cycling tourism through train travel, a sustainable transportation option for travel between Toronto and Niagara. In 2010, the Bike Train will integrate GO Transit services in addition to VIA Rail, increase cycle tourism ambassadors in Niagara, and measure the economic and tourism impacts in the Region.

    
    Greenbelt-grown Cultural Food Guides for York Region
    York Region Food Network                                         $45,000
    

The guides list retailers, farms and farmers' markets that sell locally grown and raised South Asian and Chinese foods. The guides help to identify consumers and retail demand for local enthocultural foods and in turn encourage Greenbelt farmers to grow even more crops.

SOURCE Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

For further information: For further information: contact Jennifer Story at (416) 960-0001 ext. 306 or by cell at (647) 966-6310

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