Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture

Innovations in Near-Urban Agriculture: Can farming persist in the urban shadow?

Research proposal
Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of
The Degree of Master of Science (planning)

By Nicolas Brunet

On this web page, we have placed the absract from the paper. The complete proposal can be downloaded here. (156K Word Document) (4,500 Words) Innovations in near-urban agriculture: Can farming persist in the urban shadow?


Over the last thirty to forty years, few Canadian provinces have attempted to resolve the issue of farmland loss on the urban fringe. In the 1970`s, the provinces of Quebec and British Columbia became the pioneers in creating provincial legislation to allow for agriculture to survive near cities. However, the effectiveness of these measures was not as predicted, and the destruction of prime farmland continues throughout Canada. More recently, the province of Ontario has taken aggressive measures to ensure the protection of agricultural land in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area surrounding Toronto. The proposed Greenbelt (Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, 2004) promises to save thousands of acres of land, but does not address the viability of farming in an increasingly urban area. Without the farmers there is not need to save the farmland. The purpose of this study is to create an inventory of innovative ideas for farmers faced with the pressure of the urban environment and make recommendation specific for this area. Through interviews with farmers and key informants, this study will attempt to gather valuable information on farming adaptations that have already occurred and assess what factors promote their viability. Comparisons will also be made with adaptive farming operations in the areas surrounding Montreal and Vancouver. These comparisons will help farmers understand the importance of local efforts and allow for an exchange of innovative programs across the country. These micro scale " grass roots" efforts are expected to make farming viable in the shadow of the city by increasing the contact between the consumer and the farmer, regaining the sense of community on the urban fringe, producing more per acre, and increased land stewardship through environmentally sound farming practices.

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Revised Friday, September 9, 2005

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture