Green in the City is an annual environmental seminar series that explores key climate issues through the lenses of local, municipal, and regional speakers. On November 10, 2020 we explored the topic of Urban Agriculture in your Backyard and Community. With over 100 people tuning in live, we had a lively conversation about how urban agriculture can be further implemented in the home and community spaces. See what the biggest tips are from our speakers below!

What is Urban Agriculture?

Urban agriculture is a broad term to describe any practice related to food growing, production, and distribution in an urban area. With globalization, our food systems have become increasingly global too, with foods being grown, processed, and imported from across the world to get to your plate. Urban agriculture challenges that idea, and instead encourages our food systems to become more local and sustainable. 

A close up of a community garden plot sign, with more garden blots and compost bins in the background.

What are the benefits of growing food in the city?

There are many ways to participate in urban agriculture in the city, including buying food from urban farms, having a garden plot in a community garden, having garden beds in your own backyard, growing fruit trees, or growing tomatoes and herbs in containers on your porch. Supporting urban agriculture means you are:

  • Contributing to the local economy and local food system 
  • Reducing your carbon footprint through reduced food miles (food from your backyard - can it get any more local than that?!)
  • Creating healthy soil and food sources for pollinators 
  • Cultivating a thriving community based on food literacy and strong food values 
  • More connected to where your food comes from

This Food Secure Canada article dives deeper into some of these benefits. Similar to when we explored sustainable transportation, urban agriculture is also an activity and movement that has numerous environmental, social, cultural, financial, and economic benefits.

What Needs to be Done?

While it may seem overwhelming at first, there are many simple ways you can get started with urban agriculture at home (indoors and outdoors) or in your community. Once you get started, your knowledge and confidence will grow along with each growing season you experience! Plus, there are many urban agriculture groups and resources you can reach out to in London if you’re stuck.

Take Action: grow your own food at home, in your backyard, or your neighbourhood

    1. Did you know that London has an Urban Agriculture Strategy? Read it here and then let your City Councillor know you want urban agriculture included in a community recovery plan!
    2. Sign up for a community garden plot - Register for the 2021 season January 4th via 519-661-5575, www.london.ca
    3. Already a gardener? Join the Steering Committee or become a Garden Ambassador – communitygardens@london.ca 
    4. Get involved in London. Do you want to see urban agriculture projects prioritized for climate action? Share your feedback and ideas on London’s Climate Emergency Action Plan here.
    5. Want to read more? This list put together by the London Public Library is a great way to continue your food growing education. 
    6. Click the image below to watch the full event recording to learn from FoodShare Toronto, the City of London, and a local urban ag-vocate on how to support urban agriculture:

Continue our Green in the City series: