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Urban Agriculture: Toronto

Urban Agriculture in Toronto

The second installment of our urban agriculture series focuses on Toronto. Read Part 1 to learn what urban agriculture is and its benefits.

 In Toronto, there are two main initiatives that promote and support green projects in the city, the Toronto Green Standard and the Toronto Atmospheric Fund. Together, they help residents of Toronto live in a greener city.

Green Roof Bylaw

In 2009, the city of Toronto instated a Green Roof Bylaw. The bylaw states that new commercial, institutional, and residential buildings of a particular size must have a green rooftop. A green roof is defined as a partial, or full, covering of a roof with plants.

There are ample examples throughout the city. Some of the most well-known include, Fairmont’s Royal York , a 4000 sq ft. herb garden and honeybee colony, and the Ryerson Urban Farm, which provides food for restaurants, local organizations, and the Ryerson farmer’s market. Herbs and produce grown at the Fairmont garden are used in 6000 meals served at the hotel per day. Meanwhile, the Ryerson Urban Farm boasts 8000 lbs of produce!

Community Gardens

There is a plethora of community gardens within the city of Toronto. There are also interesting projects taking place within the city, like the Bowery Project. A mobile milk crate farm that transforms vacant lots within the city into a small-scale urban farm. The food is delivered to restaurants, community organizations, and community members.

Naturalization Projects

Naturalization is the “process of ecological restoration that involves returning an environment to a more natural state by re-introducing plants native to the area” (Evergreen Common Grounds).

There are many benefits to naturalization projects like: reducing the need for pesticides, creating habitats for native species, preserve biodiversity, improve air and water quality, and increase recreational space.

Currently, there are projects to improve the health of the Don River and the Portlands. The goals of these projects are to provide flood protection, rehabilitate the ecosystem and the encourage recreational use.

Naturalization projects are not known for growing food, however increasing the biodiversity is a part of improving the urban environment, making it more conducive to urban farming.

Future

Improving the green space and access to food in the city is an ongoing process. Toronto has identified that projects are more successful when the community is involved in the planning and implementation. It will be exciting to see what the city does in the future to improve urban agriculture and green space.

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