Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Judy Bates

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This paper traces the history of non-farm rural residential development in Oxford County, Ontario from the early 1970s through to 2004 and investigates the impact of these non-farm uses on farm activities. In contrast to planning departments in the Province of Ontario that have been slow to develop restrictions on non-farm development, Oxford Country has a long history of safeguarding its agricultural heritage through its planning policies. This paper examines the effectiveness of Oxford County’s legislation in preserving agricultural land and in preventing non-farm rural residential development. The literature review presents an overview of agriculture in southern Ontario, Ontario’s agricultural planning policies (1970s to 2006), and the history of non-farm development. All severance applications from the County of Oxford for the 35-year period were examined to identify the spatial pattern of severance applications. Members of farm families on nine farms in varying areas of land preservation were interviewed to illustrate some of the ways that non-farm development has altered daily farming activities. The findings of the study are summarized and suggestions for future research are made in the concluding chapter.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season