The City of Vancouver's New Food Strategy

Vancouver Food Strategy

( A couple of weeks ago, Vancouver City Council approved a new food strategy for the city. Just what is a food strategy? According to the strategy document:

"A food strategy is an official plan or road map that helps city governments integrate the full spectrum of urban food system issues within a single policy framework that includes food production (typically referred to as urban agriculture), food processing, distribution, access and food waste management."

So what's in the new food strategy, and how will it impact the ways you interact with food in Vancouver?

Food Strategy Goals

The new food strategy includes 71 actions focused on helping the City achieve those goals. It identifies five "priority action areas" that will be where efforts are initiated first. Those are:

  1. Food production: Supporting community gardens and urban farms.
  2. Empowering residents: Improving access to community-based food programs.
  3. Food access: Improving access to "healthy, local, affordable food."
  4. Food processing and distribution: Exploring ways to improve the local food processing, storage, and distribution infrastructure.
  5. Food waste: Expanding compost and food waste disposal systems to divert food waste from the landfill.

What You'll See in Your Community

Many of the actions might not be immediately visible in your community as the city works on things behind the scenes. In fact, not all of the actions can move forward without further approvals from council (like zoning changes, for example). But if everything moves forward as planned, there are some initiatives that could impact how much access you have to local food in a clearly visible way over the next 15 years or so, including:

  • More ultra-local produce: The actions include creating five to six new community gardens per year and more than doubling the number of urban farms and farmers' markets by 2020.
  • Better access to urban farms: Action items include possible farm gate sales of produce, honey, and eggs at urban farms, and the creation of a new urban farming business license.
  • More food on city and park land: Actions related to growing food crops on public land include planting vegetables in boulevards and traffic circles through the Green Streets program and planting more food-bearing trees in parks.
  • More places to buy healthy food: The actions call for pilot programs to test pop-up grocery stores and mobile greengrocers, and possibly allowing street food to be sold on private property.
  • Better collection of food waste: Expanding the food scraps collection program to apartments and condos is an action item many Vancouverites will be keeping an eye out for.

There are also many action items related to improving access to food in areas of the city that don't have much fresh or local food available, creating community kitchens and food programs, and generally increasing how much healthy food is available to people of all income levels.

Tell Us: So, what do you think about the new food strategy? Do you think more community gardens and urban farms will increase the amount of local food you eat? Let us know in the comments.

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