From Metro News, Edmonton
Edmonton agriculture policy could all...
Vegetable gardens, hens and bees could become a regular part of city life under a new policy.
The City of Edmonton is taking the next step to bring in an urban food and agriculture policy for the city with the Food in the City conference next month. The conference is designed to bring in residents, experts and stakeholders together to explore the world of urban agriculture May 25 and 26 at the Shaw Conference Centre.
Aside from the conference, the city is also gathering opinions and information on urban agriculture and food attitudes in the city through surveys, focus groups and citizen panels.
The city is open to unique ideas when it comes to urban agriculture, including utilizing overlooked lands for community gardens, using vertical or rooftop space to grow and removing access barriers to locally grown food.
“All of this is going to take a lot of time, this is a total cultural shift from what we’re used to,” said Coun. Dave Loken Wednesday at City Hall.
The city is also looking at urban livestock – such as backyard hens or beekeeping – to be included in the strategy. The idea is a controversial but popular one, with policies on beekeeping and hens in other cities. It’s currently illegal in Edmonton to have backyard hens or bees, but there is potential for change under the strategy.
“Staff working on the project are fielding phone calls, emails, letters on a daily basis… in particular, around chickens and beekeeping. I think people are looking forward to the strategy to provide some direction in the future around what the opportunities might be for keeping animals in the city,” said Peter Ohm, Manager of Urban Planning and Development.
Loken said that despite the positive outpouring from urban hen supporters, the city will be looking at both sides of the issue.
“I think we will need to look at what other cities experiences are with those things as well. For the people who want this, it’s all positive, but you also have to look at the downside of these things,” Loken said.
The draft strategy will likely be presented to council sometime this fall. The city said they would be looking for resident input at every step, including once it is before council.