Premiers Davis and Peterson Join Greenbelt 5th Anniversary Celebrations,
Award Leaders in Greenbelt Agriculture

TORONTO, March 3 /CNW/ - In honour of the Greenbelt's 5th Anniversary, the annual Friends of the Greenbelt Award today was given to five leaders in Greenbelt agriculture.

This week marks five years since the Greenbelt Act was passed into law. In that short time, Ontario's Greenbelt has risen to first place among Greenbelts worldwide for legal protection. It is both the youngest and the largest Greenbelt in the world. Comprised of over 50% farmland and more than 7000 farms, it is also the breadbasket of the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

"Ultimately for the Greenbelt to continue to be successful, its farms need to be successful. That is why today we are recognizing Greenbelt farmers who have elevated their craft and can serve as examples of how ingenuity and creativity are key to the future success of this industry," said Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.

    
    The 2010 Friend of the Greenbelt award winners are:
    -   Gallery on the Farm in Enniskillen, Durham Region (represented by
        Eric and Jennifer Bowman);
    -   Plan b Organic Farm, in Branchton, Hamilton Region (represented by
        Alvaro Venturelli);
    -   Alex Makarenko and Herman Gasko, Holland Marsh Growers, York and
        Simcoe Regions
    -   Whitty Farms Market (Karen & Doug Whitty), St. Catharines, Niagara
        Region
     -  Dixie Orchards (Paul Gray), Caledon, Peel Region
    

Former Premier Bill Davis was on hand to acknowledge the winners: "As a past recipient of the Friend of the Greenbelt award, it gives me great pleasure to honour today these outstanding farmers," said Davis. "They are a fundamental part of making the Greenbelt work. From Niagara to Durham to Grey-Bruce, Greenbelt farmers are working double-duty - feeding our communities and caring for the land. Today we celebrate the fruits of their labour."

The celebration is made sweeter by the announcement late last week by Toronto Mayor David Miller that the City of Toronto will be the first municipality to apply to the province to add lands to the Greenbelt. The City is seeking Greenbelt protection for the Don and Humber River Valleys.

"I'm proud to see that our announcement to create the Rouge Park in 1990 is now a part of the legacy of the Greenbelt, and it gives me great comfort to know that the Don and the Humber now join the Rouge under Greenbelt protection," said David Peterson, former Ontario Premier.

Today's celebration also witnessed the unveiling of the Quilt of Possibilities, a handmade quilt assembled by the Ontario Craft Council in honour of the Greenbelt's Anniversary with submissions by textile artists from across the Greenbelt and beyond.

Pieces from the ongoing art exhibit Artists Survey: The Greenbelt were also on display. The show, curated by Phil Anderson of Gallery 1313 and Patrick Macaulay of Harbourfront Centre showcases art that investigates some of the same challenges that led to the Greenbelt's creation: urban sprawl, degradation of our land, air and water resources and the relationship between rural and urban communities. The show will be traveling to Ajax and Hamilton in the coming weeks.

Singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer, also a past award winner, had this to say about the value of the Greenbelt to Ontario: "I see the Greenbelt as a savings account full of natural capital. It's a joint account for all Ontarians, rich with innumberable plants and animal species also respected and accounted for as beneficiaries. It's a place where only the interest is spent and it builds security for everyone from farmers to urbanites alike. It is a vital investment for our collective future, and a reflection of our best selves."

The award ceremony is the culmination of weeks of anniversary celebrations around the Greenbelt, including an Oshawa Generals hockey game, a Hoe Down in the Holland Marsh and a public forum on the successes and challenges of the Greenbelt.

Wrapping around the Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt is 1.8 million acres of potential to make Ontario, and the earth, a better place. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is a charitable organization established to support the vitality of the Greenbelt.

SOURCE Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

For further information: For further information: Jennifer Story, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation at (647) 966-6310

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