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As concerns about food security have proliferated in the industrialised world, urban agriculture (UA) and other solutions have gained appeal. As a result, local administrators and planners have begun to give priority to food and urban agriculture. This article advances that cause by explaining farm or residential land and examining how urban agriculture in Canada is impacted by planning tools, rules, and policies.
Food and its origins have recently gained attention in the industrialised world as a reaction to the increasingly global and industrial food system. This has shown itself, for example, in the growing acceptance of urban agriculture (UA).
Some of the initiatives to encourage local food production in urban settings include the installation of green roofs, community gardens, and keeping urban hens. Municipalities and their planners are now prioritising urban agriculture as a result of the local food movement’s popularity in North America.
However, before moving on to the planning tools and policies, let us know whether farm on residential land is allowed or not in Canada.
Can You Farm on Residential Land?
The short answer is Yes! Urban residents can grow a lot of food at home or on their private properties. People who live in multi-family houses have a bigger opportunity to garden their terraces, balconies, community allotments and school gardens etc.
Urban farming (UF) comes in different forms and sizes. It is present in every province of the country. So, if you want to understand all types of agriculture, talk to farmers, especially the ones that are already into urban farming.
Why Promote Agriculture and Farm on Residential Land?
Urban culture is best for the surrounding communities to develop a variety of environmental, social and economic benefits. It reduces transportation costs and improves air quality. Services like cultivating native plants and beekeeping can provide pollination to the community.
Additionally, urban agriculture forms an aspect of the city’s food system. Every component of urban agriculture, including production, processing, and distribution, is linked to different community benefits. These benefits vary based on the type of urban farming, such as personal use, educational, profitable and non-profitable, and institutional.
Residential Farm Policies
There are very few municipalities with urban agriculture policies. The most typical is a policy for community gardens, which establishes rules for their creation and management. They describe the city’s obligations and set objectives for the creation of more community gardens.
In addition to having the second and third highest percentages of community gardens per resident, Victoria and Kingston each have a policy on community gardens.
Dimensions and Regional Variations
No correlation between city size and the mention of UA in planning documents appears to exist. Also, there aren’t many urban agriculture-related policy texts in Quebec and on the east coast. Most cities from Ontario, British Columbia, and the West mention UA in at least three of the four categories of records. Food and UA are addressed in types of planning documents in Kamloops and Victoria, respectively, in British Columbia.
However, urban agriculture is widely practised in British Columbia. On the east coast, there is a paradox because food is not included in many planning papers, yet UA is still ubiquitous. It’s probable that Vancouver, recognised as the Canadian pioneer in urban agriculture, is impacting the cities in British Columbia.
This was also revealed in the interviews, where the Victoria participants talked about how a change in policy in Vancouver influences the interest in UA in their own city. The east coast lacks a significant city with innovative UA practices like Vancouver that may impact them.
The biggest town on the east coast, Halifax, is only now beginning to include food in its Regional Municipal Planning Strategy. Thus this is a relatively new trend. Perhaps as this gains more traction, it will have a trickle-down effect, much like Vancouver did in the west.
Tips for Residential Farm in Canada
1. Choose Your Plants Correctly
Although urban agriculture involves many plants, you must choose the right crop depending on your setting. Herbs and leafy vegetables are ideal as they are less complex than fruits and tomatoes.
2. Consider the Sun
Most crops will not work well if your garden is in a slightly dark place. The reason is that sun exposure is essential for the survival of most plants, and without sun, most crops will not flourish.
3. Consider Your Place
Residential farming involves the growth of trees. However, you should not plant trees if your space is limited. Limited space will squeeze the crop and access most of the area.
4. Avoid Overwatering
In the residential areas, use containers to drain access to water. Giving more water to the crops will kill them as there will not be enough space to get extra water. Consider adding a drainage hole to your container, so the soil does not fill with water and kill the plants.
5. Watering Time
It is not possible to identify the best time to water the plants as the soil may vary due to rain patterns and soil water retention capacity. However, it is ideal for watering your garden in the evening and early morning. Doing this makes your crop use water for a long time before the afternoon heat.
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