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Guelph-Wellington Urban Agriculture Challenge

Project overview

There is significant potential to produce food in urban areas, including backyard gardening, backyard livestock production, container gardening on balconies or rooftops and community gardening and city allotments. We’re working with partners to further urban agriculture development in Guelph and remove unnecessary barriers.

Approach

While we’re still determining what form our efforts will take, possibilities include:

  • Working alongside local partners to consider to the Baker District Redevelopment—a major redevelopment project in the heart of the city—might serve as a showcase and inspiration for urban food and waste management, and sustainability.
  • Launching conversations with stakeholders to assess whether Guelph would benefit from a municipally supported Urban Agriculture Strategy to direct urban agriculture efforts by both the community and the City.

Get Growing—urban agriculture in Guelph-Wellington

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about our food supply—from panicked shoppers hoarding groceries or disruptions to the global supply chain. This has led many people to consider producing more food locally by growing their own in residential or community gardens.

To support this movement, Our Food Future is launching a comprehensive urban agriculture program to help residents enhance food security by growing their own food.

Gardening at Home—Kids Get Growing

Community members looking to grow their own food have varied interests and resources. Some will have access to a large backyard while others will have a sunny balcony. The mobility, tastes and dietary needs also differ from one person to the next. Embracing this diversity, Our Food Future is taking a community-led approach that includes partners, community organizations and local suppliers. Working with the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Centre Wellington, we safely distributed 740 children’s gardening kits in May of 2020. The Kids Get Growing gardening kits included soil, seeds/seedlings and educational materials to help Guelph-Wellington children learn about growing their own food. All kits were provided free of charge. The program used approximately $20,000 in Smart Cities funding.

 Kids Get Growing 2 Kids Get Growing 3 Kids Get Growing

Urban Agriculture Guelph-Wellington Urban Agriculture Challenge

The Guelph-Wellington Urban Agriculture Challenge is a call for projects and ideas that will support a circular economic recovery and accelerate food production, getting more food to the table with less environmental impact

In August 2020, we invited eligible businesses, organizations and individuals to generate and share their ideas for new projects as well as support existing food growing projects on our new digital platform kitchentable.foodfuture.ca. Three streams of funding are available via a call for proposals for projects that accelerate urban agriculture and its potential to increase awareness, access to food and local food production. After the evaluation process, funds will be distributed to successful applicants for the 2021 growing season. This initiative is using $100,000 in Smart Cities funding and aims to leverage an additional $400,000 in public/private funding and in-kind contributions.

Stream 1: Transformative Urban Agriculture stream—$70,000 for a visible high-impact community project that will:

  • Accelerate existing and emerging models of urban, indoor and other agricultural practices in Guelph-Wellington,
  • Improve local food access, collaborate with partner organizations and support infrastructure needs, emerging technologies, educational endeavours and urban farming policy implementation, and
  • Encourage and promote urban, indoor and other emerging agricultural practices, including community gardens and farms located in urban areas, suburbs and urban clusters; rooftop farms, outdoor vertical production and green walls; indoor farms, greenhouses and high-tech vertical farms; hydroponic, aeroponic and aquaponic farm facilities; and other innovations in agricultural production.

Stream 2: Scaling Out Community Agriculture stream—$20,000 for a collaborative urban agriculture project that can scale communitywide and will:

  • Improve local food access and collaborate with partner organizations to support infrastructure needs, emerging technologies, educational endeavours and/or urban farming policy implementation in Guelph-Wellington, and
  • Support the development of projects that will either initiate, build upon or expand the efforts of farmers, gardeners, citizens, government officials, schools and other stakeholders in urban areas and suburbs.

Stream 3: Shovel and Fork Fund—$2,000 each for six community-based projects that will:

  • Have shared community benefits embedded in their goals,
  • Encourage and promote community agriculture, and
  • Address social isolation by providing spaces and methods for the community to engage in growing together.

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