In July, London drafted a new framework for a strategy that will guide and support London Ontario’s urban farming community. The draft was assisted and supported by Evergreen, a Toronto based charity with a track record of improving urban environments.
The draft addresses five major aspects of urban agriculture, growing, processing, distribution, food loss and food education. The draft addresses actionables and strategies for what aims to be accomplished in each area as well what department will be responsible. However, as a draft, there are still some details that need to be worked out including time frames and budgets for each category’s actionables.
Urban agriculture became a topic at city hall when in 2015 when Ward 13 asked the council to work on an overarching policy addressing issues related to small-scale food production projects within London. Currently, there are already London based urban farms such as Urban Roots a non-profit operating on a hectare of land. Until this policy gets passed operations like Urban Roots are operating in a blind spot for bylaw officials, relying on Evergreen and their experience in Toronto or best practices while the City makes decisions about how to manage food production on land not specifically zoned for agriculture use.
Paul van der Werf, a bigwig in the aquaponics industry, now sits on London’s Food Policy Council. The Urban Agriculture strategy will be back in front of council for final approval in the fall giving time for important public feedback on the draft.
To read the original story including quotes from Paul van der Worf, click here.