Where and where not to harvest
In Central, South and South-Western parts of the province, most land is privately owned. Much of Eastern Ontario is also privately owned. In these cases, it is important to get the property owners permission to harvest. Information about who the owners are can be found in the municipal offices.
Townships and counties also own land and in most cases you will need to go to these offices to find out what you can and cannot do. Many county forests allow harvesting of foods such as mushrooms, but check to see if a permit is necessary. There may be a difference between harvesting for your self or for commercial purposes.
Harvesting in parks, wilderness and conservation areas is often prohibited, with good reason. There are simply not enough foods in these areas to feed the large and fast growing populations. Many species are under threat as habitat has been greatly reduced.
In Northern Ontario most land is referred to as crown land. Crown lands may or may not be under license, for example, to forestry companies. However many areas of the north (and other areas of the province as well) are also the traditional territories of Aboriginal communities. These communities have treaty rights that are often not respected by federal or provincial governments, or private interests. Land claims that should have been settled decades, if not, centuries ago remains a big issue in many communities. Court cases have repeatedly acknowledged Aboriginal rights. The harvesting of foods by non-Aboriginal people, in traditional territories, is described by the United Nation as bio-piracy. So permission should be sought from the band councils.
No matter where in the province foods are harvested, contaminated areas must be avoided. This would include urban and suburban areas, near highways, rail lines, hydro corridors, industrial facilities, mines and mills, non-organic farms. In short, any area likely to be subject to pollution should be avoided.
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