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October 2002 Issue
The Geographical Review
October 2002, Vol. 92 (4), pp. 503-525
AGRICULTURAL EXPANSION IN NORTHERN ALBERTA
Keywords: agricultural expansion, Alberta, Canada, Mennonites.
Since the early 1980s, some 40,000 acres of forested land have been cleared and placed under cultivation by Mennonite farmers near the small town of La Crete in northern Alberta’s Peace River district. This incipient agriculture has been accompanied by dramatic increases in road building and home construction and by the establishment of churches and schools. The principal force behind the acquisition of land has been a desire of families to have homes in rural areas where they can enjoy lifestyles based on traditional Mennonite values. Because most new farmers cannot earn a living in the district from agriculture alone, they must rely on the wood industries to supplement their incomes. Demand is building for the province to open still more land, but disagreements between the government and the Mennonite community about the most appropriate location for developing new farms has put further expansion on hold until the conflict can be resolved.