The survival of farms requires innovative adaptation and investment to take advantage of the characteristics of the peri-urban environment. In Ontario, Canada, the Provincial Government passed in 2005 the Greenbelt Act that delimits Ontario’s Greenbelt—an area of 1.8 million acres where land is protected from development around the metropolitan region of the Greater Golden Horseshoe. This paper presents research on farm-level analysis of farmers’ investment decision-making aiming at understanding the impact of Ontario’s Greenbelt on farm investment. We interviewed 21 peri-urban farmers from Southern Ontario and 3 Greenbelt experts. Three sources of data are used to understand farm investment decision-making: farmers’ mental maps, the interview transcriptions, and the information provided by a complementary questionnaire. The results demonstrate that Ontario’s Greenbelt, designed to make agriculture the primary land use in the designated area through farmland preservation, is not sufficient. Protecting a sustainable and efficient agricultural sector requires the presence of the other actors in the whole food chain in order to supply farmers and help them access markets for their products, as well as provide information and technical services.
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Land Use Policy is an international and interdisciplinary journal concerned with the social, economic, political, legal, physical and planning aspects of urban and rural land use. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information from the diverse range of disciplines and interest groups which must be combined to formulate effective land use policies.
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