The City of London, Ontario, Canada, has begun developing an Urban Agriculture Strategy using input from residents. Working with Evergreen, a Canadian charity which works on building community programs, they aim “to help the municipality and the communities of London work together, and support each other, in developing a positive, enabling environment for urban agriculture in the city.”
Prioritized actions are grouped into five broad categories:
- food loss and recovery; and,
- education and connections.
Underlying the urban agriculture strategy planning process are the themes of creating a positive environment , the removal of existing barriers to development, social justice and equity, the involvement of indigenous communities, accessibility to everyone, health and well-being.
In order to ensure that the strategy’s goals reflect community desires, Community Visioning Workshops have been being held in order to establish a vision for urban agriculture, build on the inventory of initiatives, land and space already in place, prioritize areas of action, and determine the criteria for pilot projects. Feedback from the community has shown an interest in urban farming, with concerns about access to land, the use of public spaces to grow food, and raising food-producing animals such as hens, quail, bees, and fish.
One of the biggest challenges the city faces will be putting the strategy to work and who will take the leading role.
“Maybe we’ll be enabling community groups, maybe we’ll be partnering with them,” says Leif Maitland, a local planner. “Maybe we just need to change our bylaws to be as accommodating as possible, and then get out of the way and let people do what they want to do.”