Urban Agriculture Priorities


In November and December 2016 the TFPC and TUG both hosted meetings on setting priorities for urban agriculture for Toronto. This was done reflecting on the work plan and priorities outlined in the GrowTO Urban Agriculture Action Plan and the Toronto Agriculture Program Work Plan. We had terrific attendance, many of whom were new to the TFPC community and eager to weigh in and bring their expertise on urban agriculture. These meetings were held in anticipation that the Toronto Agriculture Program Steering Committee at the City might reconvene at some point in the new year. With a meeting now set for May 2017 the TFPC is well prepared to bring the experiences, concerns,  priorities, and expertise of the community to this table.

The following is the list of priorities identified by the TFPC community.

Increased access

  • Access to City land for urban agriculture
  • Increase number of community gardens
  • Streamline process for establishing community gardens using Toronto Public Health Soil Assessment Standards
  • More resources for community gardens office at Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division
  • Enhance educational resources available through Live Green Toronto website – link to TUG website

Regulatory Changes

  • Allow backyard hens under permitted animals list through Animal Services with conditions (for example, limit to number of hens, training materials, or a course required)
  • Bees – smaller mandatory spaces from property lines
  • Clarify and update bylaws around growing food indoors – requirements for indoor building codes coordinated with food growing operations and aquaponics
  • Composting
    • City promotion of home and community composting, i.e. Montreal has a city program where you can bring your compost to parks (Need staff and resources)
    • Compost: mid-large scale processing (storage, distribution, sale, prohibition of collection from off-site)
    • Compost – remove barriers to using off-site materials for compost (working with Province)
  • Green Roof By-Law
    • Include rooftop greenhouses under the Green Roof By-law
    • Update on where the issue of food growing is permitted and encouraged under Green Roof By-law
  • Mandate developers to make urban agriculture a priority when providing funding for green space or community development, possible creation of a toolkit or promotional material, compile a list of developers as case studies to provide potential ambassador-mentors for other landholders
  • Respond to issues of tenants who are told they can’t grow food on their balconies
  • Allow for the sale of food on city owned land (market gardens)
  • Zoning to allow for urban agriculture
    • Permitted use under current zoning categories
    • Indoor agriculture, etc., needs to be included in zoning regime; currently, only industrial areas are included

Funding and Support

  • Funding for community farms – “community farms funded like community centres” – similar integration and opportunities for diverse programming
  • Protect and enhance existing farm assets within the City (Black Creek Community Farm)
  • Identify options for encouraging more enterprise-based farming