GrowTO: Urban Agriculture Action Plan at City Hall (Nov. 9, 2012)

The GrowTO: Urban Agriculture Action Plan for Toronto was proposed for consideration through a series of recommendations put forth by Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon at the Parks and Environment Committee meeting on Friday November 9, 2012. The GrowTO: Urban Agriculture Action Plan for Toronto is a document that proposes several recommendations for scaling up urban agriculture projects and access to urban agriculture resources within the City of Toronto. GrowTO stresses the importance of growing food in and around the city, the already thriving urban agriculture projects taking place within the city, and six priorities for moving forward with support for urban agriculture. The full GrowTO document can be accessed here.

All of the people making presentations to the Parks and Environment Committee supported the Grow TO document and stressed the need for more formalized support within the city in terms of staffing and resources for such projects. One of the major barriers identified was the disconnect between city departments that would intersect on urban agriculture issues. They identified that the City would benefit from a staff person or co-ordinated office to navigate between and bridge the gaps between departments to create cohesive support within the City.

Deputations were given first by James Kuhns, Wally Seccombe, and Abra Snider who stressed the benefits of urban agriculture and the success of Fresh City Farms as an entrepreneurial and socially beneficial venture. They also spoke about the excitement being generated around the Black Creek Community Farm, which has been developed through partnerships between Everdale, FoodShare, Afri-Can Food Basket, Fresh City Farms and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority as the landholder.

Deputations from Katie Berger and Jacob Kearey Moreland from Occupy Gardens followed as well as from Christopher Wong from the Toronto Food Policy Council, Cultivate Toronto, Young Urban Farmers, and formerly the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council.

As a result of the motions put forth by Councillor McMahon, and the members of the community who presented, the Parks and Environment Committee will formally recommend that City Council receive the GrowTO: An Urban Agriculture Action Plan for Toronto report for consideration. For a full list of the Parks and Environment Committee’s recommendations please see the Agenda Item. The recommendation will go before City Council on November 27, 2012.

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