Urban agriculture

A growing number of communities are embracing urban agriculture and enjoying the social, economic and environmental benefits of such activities. Many people are interested in local food and urban agriculture as it allows them to have more control over what they eat, know where their food comes from, and even enhance their self-sufficiency. There are many options for integrating local food and urban agriculture into the Airdrie community.

Urban agriculture is the practise of producing a range of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, honey, and grains, in urban areas that have not traditionally been used to do so. Urban agriculture activities differ from rural agriculture in terms of scale and intensity of the activities.

 

Airdrie currently supports

Here are some urban agriculture and local food activities that are already established and supported by the Airdrie community:

  • A community orchard located at the Plainsmen Arena - has an edible landscape including various fruit trees and bushes that is available for the public to pick. The community orchard is maintained by both residents and the Parks Department. 
  • Airdrie Farmers Market: A great place to buy products from various local farmers, food producers and artisan vendors.
  • Airdrie Horticulture Society Community Garden: If you are not able to grow your own vegetables at home, joining a community garden is an excellent way for you to benefit from locally grown food.
  • Airdrie Food Bank provides food support to those in need and has a Plant a Row Grow a Row program where residents can share some produce from their home gardens with the Food Bank.

 

Urban agriculture pilot project

As part of the City’s ongoing effort and commitment to identify and explore initiatives that will move Airdrie toward a more healthy and sustainable community, the City is currently undertaking the following initiatives under the urban agriculture project.


Backyard Hens

Starting April 2018, 20 urban residential properties will be allowed to have hens over a period of 18 months. The pilot project will allow the City the opportunity to observe the backyard hens setups and gather public feedback. The results will assist Council in determining the future of backyard hens in the City of Airdrie.

Urban Beekeeping

In early 2018, an online survey will be launched to gauge public support for various urban bees initiatives, including urban beekeeping. The results will assist Council in determining the future of urban bees in the City of Airdrie.

If you have any questions about the Airdrie Urban Agriculture Pilot Project, please call the Planning & Sustainability Department at 403.948.8848.

 

How did we get here?

On June 2, 2014, Council approved the Airdrie urban agriculture pilot project to include a community orchard initiative and a backyard hens pilot project. It was decided that urban beekeeping would be deferred for two years (2016) to allow staff to focus on implementation and evaluation of the orchard and hens pilot initiatives.

Due to resourcing issues there were delays in implementing the backyard pilot project. In the fall of 2017 the City allocated resources to proceed with the backyard hens pilot project and to engage the public on the urban bees.

Public consultation on urban agriculture to date has included an online survey, in person feedback at the Home & Lifestyle show, Farmers Market and Genesis Place in 2013, as well as emails and phone calls into the Planning Department.  

Online survey (ran from July 11 to August 1, 2013): 141 citizens responded to the survey and provided their input on urban agriculture activities in both public spaces and on private property. In general, citizens indicated their high levels of support for urban agriculture initiatives on public lands and City-owned spaces, and lower levels of support for initiatives occurring in backyards.

Citizens indicated the following levels of support for initiatives on public and municipal lands:

  • Roof top gardens: 88.6% in favour
  • Beehives on public lands: 57.9% in favour
  • Edible landscaping: 85% in favour
  • Community gardens: 94.3% in favour

Citizens indicated the following levels of support for private/backyard initiatives:

  • Backyard hens: 57.1% in favour
  • Backyard bees: 50.7% in favour
  • Front yard edible gardens: 81.6% in favour

The predominant concerns mentioned by citizens with regard to public land and City initiatives included ongoing maintenance and vandalism. Citizen concerns regarding private property/backyard initiatives included allergies to bees and concerns about noise and odours associated with backyard chickens.

 

Want to learn more?

Check out these various urban agriculture and local food resources:

 

Contact us


Sustainability

P. 403.948.8800

F. 403.948.6567