Urban agriculture In Canada, Facts, Ideas, And Tips

Introduction to urban agriculture in Canada: Urban agriculture is where people cultivate food in and around urban areas. Urban agriculture (UA) can be defined as the purchase of food and non-food products around urban areas. Urban agriculture is being taken up substantially and has been a successful alternative – a change from traditional thinking that crops are grown only in rural areas. These activities are also found in Peri-urban areas, and Peri-urban can have different characteristics of agriculture.

Urban agriculture is generally associated with farming, gardening, and horticultural practices in and around the city. On the one hand, municipal measures related to urban agriculture in Canada are more concerned with environmental protection, economic efficiency, and recreation than food production. Therefore, it is not surprising that the issue of urban horticulture is not considered a high priority by local government officials. At the same time, Canadian municipalities have launched a limited number of programs directly related to urban agriculture.

A guide to urban agriculture In Canada, urban farming practices

Urban oats agriculture In Canada
Oats agriculture (Image source: pixabay)

Urban agriculture programs were addressed in the review, which focused on three areas. These include demonstration gardens, organic gardening courses, and community gardening programs. Therefore, urban agriculture can be done in various ways, including community gardens, urban farms, and aquaponics or hydroponics programs. Urban agriculture can be done in many places like front and backyards, balconies, sunrooms, indoor greenhouses, terraces, or patios.

What is urban agriculture?

Urban agriculture is the growth and development of plants and livestock in or near metropolitan areas. Urban agriculture can use everything from backyard or balcony gardens to open spaces or parks to community gardens and roadside or open spaces, even roofs, to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The overall goals of urban agriculture range from meeting one’s personal food choices and saving money to helping local food shelters or using them in for-profit businesses. Urban agriculture also includes post-harvest activities such as community kitchens, farmers’ markets, roadside farm stands, marketing of crops and products, and disposal of food waste. Notably, urban agriculture is context-specific, meaning its forms and practices vary according to local environmental conditions – social, cultural, economic, physical, and political.

Examples of urban agriculture abound in many forms, including community and backyard gardens, roof and balcony gardening spaces, growing in the right paths and parks, aquaculture, hydroponics, fruit trees and gardens, market farms, raising livestock, and beekeeping.

Information about urban agriculture in Canada

Urban farming comes in many forms and sizes and is present in every province of the country. Suppose you want to understand agriculture, talk to farmers, and discuss the following issues. In that case, the Country Guide highlights urban farm work in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. Will do Diversity and Innovation, Urban horticulture is a project that stimulates the local economy, provides support to urban communities in social and economic ways, and also serves as an effective means of securing family food security. Urban residents can grow food at home on their private property. People who live in multi-family homes can garden on balconies, terraces, community allotments, school gardens, etc.

Most urban farmers in Canada will eat their food and will not sell it. Urban agricultural projects vary in size and intensity and range from open-air or greenhouse roof farms to indoor and vertical fields, community gardens, hydroponic or aquaculture works, and backyard gardens. They work on small plots of land that they can lease, rent, part of the food produced, or maintain the property by entering into some reciprocal agreement with the owner.

Urban agriculture is a term used to describe private and public agricultural activities in urban and peri-urban areas. Although regional examples apply to urban agriculture differently, each will help increase food security. Urban agriculture can potentially increase food security in the region by providing local food supply systems, and successful examples of this are given in the Canadian cities of Montreal and Vancouver.

The work of local governments and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) was cited as two critical catalysts within urban agriculture in Montreal or Vancouver. Municipal governments are interested because of laws that can facilitate urban agricultural projects and because of the role of the municipal planning department in approving agricultural development in the city.

Why promote urban agriculture in Canada?

In case if you miss this: How To Start Poultry Farming In South Africa.

Flaxseed crop
Flaxseed crop (Pic source: pixabay)

Urban agriculture allows the surrounding communities to develop a variety of environmental, economic, and social benefits. It can reduce transportation costs and improve air quality. Beekeeping and cultivating native plants can provide pollination services to the community. Supporting local food producers through membership in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) contributes to regional economic development by investing in the local economy.

Urban agriculture forms an aspect of the city’s food system. Each urban agriculture component – production, processing, and distribution – and related activities are linked to different community benefits. Benefits vary based on the type of urban farming, personal use, institutional, educational, profitable, non-profit, etc. Successful community-based urban farming needs a lot of planning that goes beyond the interests of a particular neighborhood. Like any other effective endeavor, the potential benefits increase when residential goals, ideas, and urban farming identify aesthetics. Urban farming projects that reflect the cultural values ​​and vision of the community and their evolution have a lasting impact and lead to more environmentally sustainable ways of providing food. Urban agriculture can contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities in several ways: promoting local food systems, contributing to food security, promoting economic growth, strengthening social integration, and promoting urban biodiversity and environmental health.

Urban agriculture refers to food production in urban areas, whether for personal use, commercial sale, education, or treatment. It can take many forms, including;

  • Gardening and backyard livestock raising
  • Container gardening on balconies or terraces.
  • Community gardening and city allotment.

Canadian municipalities are working to address the challenges of managing and maintaining urban forests. Urban forestry measures can be divided into three types. The first involves planting extensive and continuous trees on municipal property. The second type involves promoting the planting of trees on private property. The third category includes programs and policies to ensure the care and protection of existing trees growing on municipal property. These measures are usually in the context of local government-wide urban forest management strategies, frameworks, and plans.

In Canada, these initiatives, which affect urban agriculture, are encouraged. The following criteria;

  • Cost-saving
  • Waste reduction/protection
  • Availability of seed funding from federal and provincial governments
  • Improving the urban environment
  • Promoting recreational activities.

The impact of this program on the promotion of urban agricultural activities is particularly positive in the areas of composting, urban forestry, and wastewater reuse measures. More limited, albeit positive, contributions to the UA are also being made through initiatives in urban rearing and urban horticulture.

The Organic Agriculture Center of Canada (OACC)

A comprehensive manual on vermicomposting and vermiculture. The OACC has some excellent resources covering all aspects of organic farming.

  • To improve the health of Canadians
  • It provides freshly picked vegetables, fruits, herbs, and eggs for better nutrition.
  • It provides exercise and reduces stress.
  • Creates a positive attitude.
  • Make us aware of our environment.
  • Urban farming can teach us about climate change.
  • Air, water, and soil pollution.
  • Habitat for insects and birds and where our food comes from.
  • To strengthen our communities.
  • Urban farming brings people together.
  • It makes our cities beautiful.

Urban agriculture area in Canada

According to Statistics Canada, an urban area in ​​Canada is an area with a population of at least 1,000 people where the density is not less than 400 people per square kilometer (1,000 / square mile).

In Canada, Statistics Canada redesigned urban areas with the new term “population center”. The new term has been chosen to illustrate better that urban vs. rural is not a strict division but a continuum within which many different settlement patterns may exist. For example, a community may fit a strictly statistical definition of an urban area rather than as a self-contained urban entity or is geographically remote from other urban communities. The population at the center of the population has changed from urban areas: a population of at least 1,000 people where the density is not less than 400 persons per km2.

How will the federal government encourage urban farming in Canada?

The government will play a leading role and validate urban agriculture.


1. Establish a federal office of urban agriculture – The staff will coordinate a national effort and provide statistics such as population figures, amount of available land, and total production that has grown.

2. Experts nationwide will provide the government with strategies to advance urban agriculture. Many Canadians have years of experience in various roles in this field.

3. Set up demonstration gardens in Canada’s largest cities – Demonstration gardens will provide educational centers for thousands of people in large municipalities. Garden staff will teach residents how to prepare food using local resources and expertise.

4. Canadian people invited from the Federal Office of Urban Agriculture to the national networking event. Growers from home, school, rooftop, and community gardens, and also commercial urban farmers, will learn from each other.

5. Publish the national urban agriculture website – The website will provide resources for city farmers nationwide. Publications, educational courses, seed sources, local government policies, and community and school gardens are a few examples.

6. Coordinate urban agriculture policies – The federal office will review the city’s food production policies, such as beekeeping, poultry, product sales, and tax breaks.

7. Fund urban agriculture projects – There are many new urban agriculture technologies in development, such as phone apps that show where products can be purchased, websites that explore vacant urban land, and aquaponic systems for fish farming. Incentive funding will encourage businesses to continue their work.

8. Facilitate urban-rural farmer links – By connecting urban and rural farmers, we can help citizens better understand our Canadian agriculture and food system.

9. Canadians can share and learn from our urban agriculture strategy with countries worldwide.

Best ways to identify and deal with contaminated urban soil in Canada

Although brownfield sites are rehabilitated in collaboration with Canada’s Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, there are many such sites, and many have not been repaired to date. Each Canadian province has its own legislation dealing with brownfield site remediation. In British Columbia, for example, the Environmental Management Act provides a framework around site identification, assessment, treatment, and responsibility distribution provisions. Individual or community gardeners concerned with soil contamination can seek municipal guidance and publish soil testing guides in some cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver.

Viewing soil as a resource rather than waste can be a matter of discussion. Contaminated soil at construction sites is usually designated for landfills.

Public health can encourage urban farming to consider these best practices;

  • Visit the site and then consult historical land-use records. Inspect the soil if necessary.
  • Find gardens away from heavy traffic, industrial sites, and lead-painted buildings.
  • To prevent contamination, use raised beds with healthy soil and a non-toxic liner under the bed.
  • Choose crops that can be taken from a plant, such as corn, tomatoes, and squash.
  • Make sure there is clean water available on-site to wash the produce, and encourage gardeners to wash everything before eating.
  • Adding clean organic matter and keeping the soil pH level neutral can help reduce the bioavailability of certain metals.
  • Educate gardeners about the safe use of pesticides, proper disposal, and a ban on harmful products. Public health can facilitate consumer education in advocating the use of pesticides, proper disposal, and banning harmful products.

Solid waste management for urban agriculture in Canada

The strongest and most positive link between Canadian municipal initiatives and urban agriculture is municipal solid waste management. A powerful agenda for solid waste management initiatives in Canadian municipalities is based on the desire to divert the amount of waste traditionally wasted for municipal landfill sites. The most common is the spread of paper, glass, and metal waste recycling programs. However, it is the growing importance of recycling organic waste in the form of composting measures that are having the most significant impact on the role and scope of urban agricultural activity in Canadian municipalities.

Although the driving force behind composting measures is the desire to reduce the amount of solid waste generated in Canadian municipalities, a key result of these measures is the increasing use of composted organic waste for urban horticulture. This includes horticulture, which is done by individual landlords as well as the municipal departments themselves. In addition to protecting the environment, using composted organic waste in farming is less expensive than fertilizers and topsoil. Extensively, composting initiatives include homeowner composting programs and municipal, centralized composting facilities. This section discusses the types of organic waste used in composting, the programs offered in support of composting, the different ways to use composted waste, and the organizational structure for carrying out these programs.

Water resource management for urban agriculture in Canada

Canadian municipal initiatives relate to municipal water resources management. In this case, municipal priorities for protection and reduced resource use conflict with promoting urban agricultural activities in Canada. As a result of municipal priorities, residents are being encouraged to reduce water use in general and outdoor activities in particular. As far as urban farming is concerned, the municipality will consider it primarily as a recreational activity, and the municipality will consider water use and related activities costly. At the same time, municipalities that recognize the value and importance of urban agriculture are encouraging more efficient use of water for horticulture rather than discouraging its use outright.

Restrictions on outdoor watering – Excessive load and insufficient pressure, local bodies are increasingly turning to methods to reduce water consumption. Urban agriculture-related programs can be divided mostly into three categories. The first involves a range of restrictions on outdoor water. Watering the lawn and other outdoor use of water can increase the daily water demand equivalent to the daily production of a typical water plant. To enforce these restrictions, some programs are based on municipal by-laws, which are enforced by municipal staff. However, most programs are based on large-scale educational initiatives that encourage residents to reduce their use of excess water and provide a variety of indicators for this purpose. Although these programs focus on lawn watering and summer recreational activities, tap watering in gardens is also mentioned as an activity.

Tips and ideas for urban agriculture in Canada

How about this: How To Start Backyard Vegetable Farming.

Barley crop
Barley crop (pic credit: pixabay)

1. Choose your plants correctly – Urban agriculture can involve several plants. However, depending on your setting, you must choose the right crop to plant. Herbs and leafy vegetables are ideal because they are less complex than fruits, peppers, and tomatoes.

2. You have to consider the sun – If your garden is in a slightly dark place, most crops will not work well. Sunlight exposure is essential for the survival of a plant, and without such light, most crops will not function well.

3. Consider your place – Urban agriculture can involve the growth of trees. However, you should not plant trees if your space is limited. Limited space will not only squeeze the crop but also access you and your space.

4. Overwatering kills – In urban gardens, containers drain excess water. Therefore, giving more water to the crops will kill them as there will not be enough space to get extra water. To fix this, consider adding drainage holes to your container so the soil does not fill with water and kill the plants.

5. Consider vertical gardening – Instead of filling the limited space with crops and running out of space, it is advisable to use this space upwards. That way, you can put them in pots that can be hung, using all the space above.

6. Proper Planting – When planting, you have to put gravel under the container before adding some soil. You should also leave an inch above the container for water.

7. Choosing your soil – The soil you use is important for the quality of the crop. Some go for soil sprayed with pesticides but forget that it contains chemicals. Thus, the result will not be purely organic.

8. Watering times – It is not possible to identify the best time to water the plants as it may vary due to rain patterns and soil water retention capacity. However, it is ideal to water your garden in the evening and early in the morning so the crops use water for a long time before the afternoon heat.

9. Start small – Some people may be very upset with the idea of ​​gardening, start big, and fail to harvest as expected, leading to a loss of drive and interest. Thus, it is advisable to start small and work towards further growth in the future.

10. Potting soil is better – Potting soil is light, disinfected to kill weeds and diseases, and can drain drains better. Therefore, planting on the ground is preferred.

Community planning and social policy for urban agriculture in Canada

All municipalities maintain a data monitoring system to assist in long-range forecasting and planning policy decisions. Canada’s major cities use computerized information systems to plan transportation systems to monitor certain climate changes, such as air pollution, and to study or forecast land use, population, building construction, etc.

In some provinces, the legislation also allows municipalities or provincial governments to prevent the destruction of heritage property and the natural environment or to force property owners to take measures that reflect architectural, aesthetic, and landscape features or convenience to users of any buildings proposed for construction. The balance between the freedom to use one’s land and the requirements imposed by a public authority depends on the prevailing social values ​​of the community at that time. In addition, all planning acts in Canada require that citizens be consulted before making major land planning decisions and that affected property owners always have the right to appeal. The province gives urban municipalities the responsibility to plan in their areas. Rural areas and towns are often organized around a “regional district” for regional planning, created by order of the provincial government.

Arguments remain about the proper role and objectives of planning, which is a tool for social improvement. It is not that the basic goals of performance and organized urban development area in the challenge is whether order and efficiency should be the only goals. It was to be part of the antidote to the enormous social costs of the Industrial Revolution, a broad movement of social reform in which building better cities would play a role in building a better civilization.

The planning arrangements apply to Canada’s privately owned lands. Provincial and federal crown lands planning and environmental management fall on various government departments and agencies. Special ” integrative ” administrative mechanisms were established to plan the use of crown lands and the wise development and conservation of resources underneath or upon them.

Implementation of urban agriculture in Canada

British Columbia – In British Columbia, a Canadian urban farmer has published details of a CVR (crop value rating) that can be used to find which type of crops to grow. Urban farmers can develop business networking with rural farmers. Some of them could be brought to the urban location for sale. British Columbia was born to promote urban farming methods such as the Sharing Backyard program. The program is available to help people living in urban areas connect with others. There are also organizations in Vancouver’s urban areas to educate people about farming and growing food in an urban setting by running public demonstration gardens.

British Columbia actively promotes urban farming practices in its community. They emphasize the importance of food security and its impact on the economy and the environment.

Ontario – Ontario is the second-largest province and is one of the most urbanized in Canada. The Ontario Provincial Government has a website that provides information on establishing urban farms. The city of Ottawa is home to the Central Experimental Farm (CEF), the country’s largest urban farm.

Quebec – About 100 community gardens provide plots where growers cultivate several crops in Montreal. There are about 255 allotment plots in the most extensive community garden, while the smallest site has about 25 plots. Of the 2 million people living in Montreal’s urban areas, about 10,000 live on garden plots. However, there are several farm companies in Canada working on urban farm technology, including Montreal.


If you live in Canada, this article may help you to understand urban agriculture farming in Canada.


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