BRANDON, MB – Brandon University is involved in a nation-wide study to examine the continuing loss of farmland in Canada and how that affects our country’s global competiveness and food sovereignty.
“In the last 40 years, farmland approximately twice the size of Prince Edward Island has been taken over for urban activities,” says Dr. Doug Ramsey from BU’s Department of Rural Development and member of the research team that will spend the next four years studying agricultural land use planning in Canada. ”We need to understand how this transfer affects our ability to be a food-producing nation and contribute to the conversation about policies for the future.”
The study, spearheaded by the University of Northern British Columbia, is funded through a $464,000 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Ramsey says, “An important part of the research will be meetings with farmers and residents of rural and urban communities, in town halls, coffee chats and other informal gatherings to hear from the people directly affected.”
BU’s Vice-President (Academic and Provost), Dr. Gervan Fearon, who holds two agricultural degrees and served with a provincial Ministry of Agriculture and Food, says, “BU is well-respected on rural development research and, through this study, will critically examine the changing role and value of agriculture within Canadian society and provide direction on planning at the local and national levels.”
The research team intends to publish a book documenting policies and identifying beneficial practices, to serve as a valuable source of knowledge for future researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and teachers.
Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.
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Dr. Doug Ramsey
Department of Rural Development