Conflicting and Silent Voices: How Sustainable Agricultural Narratives Replace and Shape Policies in Ontario, Canada
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Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food sector currently accounts for over one-quarter of all farms in Canada. However, the province does not have any official definition for sustainable agriculture, making it difficult if not impossible to address cumulative environmental challenges. Rather, Ontario has a piecemeal basket of agricultural policies, which encourage ineffective and unsustainable business-as-usual policies. As a result, multiple contrasting and competing visions are pushed by various stakeholders, most of whom favour larger conventional operations as opposed to smaller, more ecologically sound ones. Using Thompson et al. (2007)’s four types of sustainable agricultural narratives (Growth, Production-Innovation, Agroecology, and Participation), this paper will analyze what specific discourses take privilege over others, and how these discourses shape or maintain policies to their favour. In order to encourage an agricultural sector that is sustainable and equitable in the long run, Ontario must adopt a cohesive set of cumulative agricultural policies for its various eco-regions.