Group Preferences for Rural Amenities and Farmland Preservation in the Niagara Fruit Belt
Prins, Peter Gideon
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During the production of agricultural commodities, an agricultural landscape is simultaneously being produced. In many regions, agriculture is no longer valued for just the production of food and fibre but also for the social, cultural and environmental amenities associated with the landscape. The paradigm of multifunctional agriculture has become concerned with the joint production of agricultural products and these rural amenities. The loss of agricultural land especially in areas around the urban-rural fringe has greatly affected the demand for these rural amenities. In response, governments and volunteer organizations have developed programs to preserve farmland. The Niagara Region is home to some of the best fruit growing land in Canada but has a long history of fighting to maintain its farmland. Drawing from the multifunctional paradigm, this study analyzes the preference for different rural amenities and farmland preservation in this unique region. Survey and interviews conducted with both the non-farm population and farmers indicated that demand exists for maintaining rural amenities and for farmland preservation. Consideration of these preferences will enhance the development of farmland preservation in the Niagara Fruit Belt.