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What we need for a sustainable future
• Globally, the amount of arable land – land that can be used to grow food – is shrinking. It was estimated at 0.38 hectares (about 41,000 square feet) per person in 1970, and is expected to decline to less than half, at 0.15 hectares (approximately 16,000 square feet) per person by 2050.88
• The world population is projected to reach 9.1 billion in 2050, and more than 70 per cent of that population is expected to be urban.89
• The world is also becoming richer. The global middle class is expected to grow from 1.8 billion in 2009 to 4.9 billion by 2030, changing global food consumption from basic staples to more appetizing and nourishing food, including more meat.90
To meet the needs of a rising population and to address nutritional challenges, we need science and cooperation. This all means using natural resources responsibly, working to ensure food is safe and affordable, and committing to continuous learning. By empowering people around the world to work together, we all bene t from a more sustainable future.
At the end of the day...
Caitlin MacLeod
While much has changed when it comes to food and farming in Canada, the most important things are the same as they were a century or more ago: growing food still starts with the values and commitment of farm families to the land, to animals, and to this special way of life.
Ultimately, all Canadians are working towards the same end goal: food that is reliable, affordable, safe, nutritious, and responsibly produced. Canada is a country that enjoys more food choices and opportunities than most places in the world, and how and what to eat is a choice each Canadian can make for him or herself.
Thank you for supporting Canadian food and for being interested in how and what Canadian farmers do to produce it. Your trust is not something farmers take lightly. By working together, we can continue to focus on a sustainable future for our planet and its people.
With Thanks
Original text (2006) by: Alison Lane.
2010, 2014, and 2017 edition updates by: Lilian Schaer, Agri-Food Project Services Ltd.
Project Manager/Editor: Matt McIntosh
Design by: Lynn Chudleigh
Editor: Dr. Paul Ling
Published by Farm & Food Care Ontario, 2017.
This booklet was made possible with the generous support of farmers, farm organizations, and agribusinesses across Canada. For a complete list, visit
Permission to reproduce this document is given, provided credit is made to “Farm & Food Care”. Sources, where noted, are available in the online version of this publication at Sources are also available by request.
Farm photos in this book are all taken of Canadian farms, or of Canadian farmers. Many were winning entries in the Farm & Food Care 2017 Farm Photo Contest. Photo credits are listed, where available.
Special thanks to the extensive list of participants of the national review committee who provided their subject matter expertise in reviewing the content of this publication and ensuring its accuracy.
The Real Dirt on Farming 59

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