Urban Food Policy Snapshot
By Cameron St. Germain
New York City Food Policy Centre
May 9, 2017
Progress to date
Numerous urban agriculture projects have popped up in Toronto since the GrowTO action plan was adopted. They are located in empty lots, on rooftops, in schoolyards, and on residents’ personal property.
Entrepreneurs and community organizers have looked to urban farming opportunities as a means of supporting economic development, the creation of small businesses, and to build up and enhance communities. Many farmers are now exploring ways to grow indoors or in shipping containers using hydroponics, or other systems, in addition to the many programs and businesses growing outside and in public spaces.
Through the Toronto Agriculture Program, the city has devoted significant time and energy to developing opportunities for urban farmers, such as allowing them to grow their own produce in hydro corridors. This begins to address the dilemma that many would-be farmers face in getting access to land in Toronto and being allowed to sell the food grown on that land.
Toronto has drawn a lot of attention for the development of an urban farm, Black Creek Community Farm, in the City’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood, in partnership with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. This farm has become an embedded part of the community and is a hub for food justice work. Based on the success of this farm, the city is currently exploring the feasibility of establishing another farm.