New Initiative Serves Up Food in the City
May 28, 2011
Conversation starts on urban agriculture and food strategy
The City of Edmonton is starting a community dialogue on the development of a strategy around urban agriculture, food policy and food systems.
“There is a growing community and business interest in supporting local food producers and purchasing local food to support the local economy,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel about the initiative launched May 28 at the Food in the City event at the bustling Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market.
“We want to tap into that interest to help guide us toward building a sustainable local food system in Edmonton.”
Over the coming months City staff will compile input from Edmontonians through informal surveys and booths at summer events, as well as preparing for a symposium in the fall that will bring together experts and advocates on the subject.
“We want to check in with interested groups and organizations on how we can address food and agriculture issues when it comes to city planning and decision-making,” said Councillor Dave Loken, who is the Council lead on this initiative. “A food and agriculture strategy will give us direction about how to better integrate urban agricultural practices within the City boundaries.”
Councillor Loken pointed to the City’s Municipal Development Plan which proposes a range of possible actions the City could take as it develops the strategy, including:
- supporting the establishment of a food policy council;
- working with the community to create a local food charter;
- working with the region to develop a regional food policy council and food charter;
- collaborating with communities, landowners and other organizations to identify potential areas and lands for urban agricultural activities;
- establishing guidelines for integrating urban agriculture into public and private spaces and developments.
“It’s important that we begin the dialogue so we can properly build a food and urban agriculture strategy that will increase access to food in our neighbourhoods, provide opportunities to grow and process food in the city, and stimulate and diversify the local economy,” said Councillor Loken.
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