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Press release  •  2 min

An alliance to stem the loss of agricultural land in Quebec

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Montreal, November 13, 2023 - Équiterre, la Fédération de la relève agricole du Québec (FRAQ), la Coopérative pour l’Agriculture de Proximité Écologique (CAPÉ), Protec-Terre and Vivre en Ville have joined forces to launch Alliance SaluTERRE. The Alliance seeks to protect Quebec’s agricultural land and activities from the many threats to our food autonomy and security, an issue that is also of great concern to the public, according to a recent Léger poll.

“Our arable land is being buried under concrete in the name of industrial development and urban sprawl. The result is that we’re losing a rare, non-renewable, strategic resource whose basic function is to feed us,” states the members of the Alliance.

57,000 hectares of farmland have been lost since 1998 because of this type of development, the equivalent of 40 hockey rinks per day. When you realize that only 2% of our land is arable, compared to 58% in France and 45% in the United States, this makes no sense.

74% of Quebecers are worried about our agricultural land

This concern is shared by a majority of Quebecers, according to a Léger survey of 1,006 respondents, conducted between September 28 and October 2, 2023.

74% feel that urgent action needs to be taken to protect farmland that could be lost to residential and industrial development.

69% believe that urban sprawl needs to be curbed by encouraging construction in areas that are already developed, which is a recognized solution to help to limit the loss of farmland.

Access to land is a top priority

Alliance SaluTERRE seeks to improve the health of our agricultural lands and their ecosystems, preserve their ability to produce food and ensure that they are accessible to a diversified next generation of farmers. The goal is to maintain the vitality of farming operations and the sustainable use of land to benefit our communities.

“The next generation of farmers can no longer afford access to land. Prices are ten times higher than they were 25 years ago and continue to rise because of speculation, appropriation and urban sprawl. The land can only feed us if we are able to farm it. We must support the next generation of farmers in order to strengthen our food security and autonomy and protect our arable land,” argues the Alliance.

This view is shared by the majority of Quebecers. According to the Léger survey, 87% of

respondents are in favour of providing financial support measures to ensure access for the next generation of farmers to land. 71% would also support a measure to financially penalize developers who speculate on the value of agricultural land.

“In Quebec, we understand that the primary purpose of farmland is to feed us, and until firm political steps are taken in this direction, the destruction of our vast shared garden will continue,” conclude the members of SaluTERRE.

In the next few years, the Alliance members will carry out their mission by supporting grassroots citizen mobilization, rallying multiple stakeholders to develop ambitious, wide-ranging proposals, and collaborating with the various levels of government to implement comprehensive concrete solutions.

About Alliance SaluTERRE

Alliance SaluTERRE is a coalition of member organizations from the agricultural, environmental and planning sectors, supported by numerous Quebec organizations, and a social movement dedicated to farmland protection. Our goal is to bring about high-impact changes that will increase the protection of agricultural land and farming activities by providing information to the public and decision-makers at all levels. For more information:

Alliance advisors: Fernande Ouellet, Farmer; Jean Larose, Agronomist, Strategic Consultant in social economy and former GM of the UPA; Patrick Mundler, Professor in the Faculty of Agricultural Science and Food, Université Laval.

Supporting organizations and individuals: Arrivage - Circuits courts; Association des marchés publics du Québec; Association pour la santé publique du Québec; Collectif Récolte; Conseil du système alimentaire montréalais; Régénération Canada; Slow Food Montréal; Claire Bolduc, Agronomist and Reeve of the MRC de Témiscamingue; Louis Robert, retired agronomist; Mathieu Maisonneuve, Mayor of St-Lin-Laurentides.

For more information