Amish buggies could soon be a common sight on Kings County roads if members of the conservative religious group decide to leave Ontario for the East Coast. Skyrocketing prices for good farmland in southwestern Ontario is forcing the Amish to look elsewhere to continue the group’s sedate, agrarian lifestyle. Land prices in Ontario are $15,000 to $20,000 an acre, which is unaffordable for a mixed-use farm operation. In P.E.I., farmland goes for $1,500 to $2,500 an acre.
P.E.I. seems to have everything the Amish are looking for — affordable prices for fertile, well-drained soil, good weather, a reasonable growing season, available small farms of 100 acres or so and laid-back, friendly residents. The biggest drawback for P.E.I. is the sheer distance from family and friends in Amish communities back in Ontario.
It’s unusual that the P.E.I. government isn’t playing a more active role trying to convince the Amish to relocate here. The group traditionally shuns using public health care, prefers to pay their own way with prescription drugs and hospital care and looks after their elderly in their own homes. All the Amish need is a little encouragement to help three to five families get settled and then more would follow.
Besides putting land back into production and providing a population boost to the province, the Amish are a peace-loving community which would stabilize agriculture and the population base in Kings County. Amish use organic farming methods and avoid pesticides. Their environmental footprint is very light.
Residents in southern Kings and Queens…