Edmonton Exploring Urban Farming

edmonton urban farming

City of Edmonton exploring potential urban farming project on public land

If you have a veggie garden and want to sell your goods, you might be able to soon

Edmonton Urban Farming | Kashmala Fida Mohatarem |

IMAGE: Women farming at the Edmonton Urban Farm near Northlands. The City of Edmonton is looking into making public land available for more urban farming projects across the city. (Submitted by Explore Edmonton)

The City of Edmonton is considering developing a urban farming program to build healthier communities and gain better access to underutilized urban land.

Online surveys are being conducted by the city to gauge interest in an urban farming program where locals can cultivate fruits and vegetables, raise chickens or bee-keep to sell the products commercially. 

Currently, people can apply for development permits and business licenses to urban farm on private land.

But the city is aiming to create processes for people to use city land and facilities for urban farming, said Nicole Fraser, general supervisor, operations planning and monitoring for the city.

“We’re looking at parks and open spaces, maybe underutilized space that we have, as well as rooftops, city facilities to see where we can be creative and expand urban farming opportunities to support small businesses, restaurants and social enterprises,” she told CBC’s Edmonton AMon Tuesday.

The city is still working out the details of the program.

“I’ve been asked, are cows going to be allowed on public land? We’re not sure yet,” Fraser said.

Urban farming advocates said growing food where people live can make fresh vegetables more accessible and affordable amid rising food prices. They say locally grown food can also have a lower climate impact, while providing jobs and environmental benefits for local communities

Citizen feedback will be collected on the types of agricultural activity that could potentially be included within the program, and areas in the city that could be used. 

The surveys will be used to determine whether there is interest in a urban farming program, how it would be implemented, the permits required for it, and whether it would include fees.

Fraser said the program would be significantly different from the city’s existing community garden program that has been operating in Edmonton on private and public land since the mid-1990s.

A woman holding a rhubarb plant surrounded by five other younger women standing outside with plants on either side.
A group of women learning about urban farming at the Edmonton Urban Farm near Northlands. (Submitted by Explore Edmonton)

Community gardens are smaller-scale and prohibit people from selling their produced goods.

There are 80 community gardens active across the city today, Fraser said, and one urban farm called the Edmonton Urban Farm on 79th Street near Northlands on land zoned for agriculture by the city.

Currently, 25 organizations use the farm to bee-keep, produce vegetables, and grow flowers.

Jessie Radies, director of Edmonton Urban Farm, said she wants the city to encourage urban farming but cautions people who see it as a business opportunity.

“In Edmonton, it’s an emerging industry. It isn’t proven as a profitable business,” she said, emphasizing that it’s small-scale but labour and capital intensive.

However, the community aspect of having an outdoor public space for people to gather and grow food should not be undervalued, she said. 

“It’s been a fascinating place to see our community come together and share this love of growing food and vegetables.”

The city will be accepting survey responses until March 10.

Original Article Here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/edmonton-urban-farming-project-surveys-1.7128374