Perceived Municipal Goals and Objectives Towards Increasing Food Distribution and Access >> Municipal Food Systems: Calgary Case Study

As an important element of healthy communities, improving and maintaining access to food systems is increasingly becoming a responsibility of planners and municipal staff. This presentation addresses municipal involvement in food systems planning, with a focus on distribution and access rather than cultivation and production (which is often explored in urban agriculture research). This presentation will describe results from a thematic analysis conducted with municipal planning documents, in order to identify and connect themes with respect to a municipality’s capability and implementation strategies and tools to achieve its goals and objectives towards increasing food distribution and access. This presentation will explore one method of the case study research, and is part of a larger master’s report currently in progress entitled “Fresh Ideas: Pop-ups & Planning for Calgary’s Farm Stands”. The purpose of the report is to identify the challenges and successes of implementing a municipal food systems initiative with a focus on equity, health, and sustainability considerations.

SPEAKER: Stephanie Cantlay, Queen’s University

Planning and Agri-Food Systems: Evaluating the Capacity of Ontario Municipalities
(Timestamp: 12:58)

Ontario’s agri-food sector plays an important role in Canadian agriculture, and its continued growth and success depends on support and initiatives at multiple levels of government. While provincial priorities may guide expectations, many programs and policies are enacted by municipalities, which must balance local needs with economically sound and environmentally sustainable progress, and which have varying degrees of desire and capacity to support local agriculture and agri-food systems. Understanding how the varying capacities of Ontario planning departments impact the effectiveness with which municipalities can respond to and support the agri-food sector is important to facilitating knowledge sharing and enabling more targeted support.

This project builds on research conducted in 2020-2021, that assessed the capacity of municipalities in the Greenbelt region of Ontario to support and respond to agri-food systems, and identified differences in budget, human resources, knowledge of agriculture, and other factors, which impact the ability of municipalities to support local agri-systems. This presentation will provide an overview of the project and initial findings, based on the results of two online surveys sent to planners and elected officials from municipalities in Ontario, as well as semi-structured interviews with planners.

SPEAKERS: Regan Zink, University of Guelph; Shanley Weston, University of Guelph; Natasha Gaudio Harrison, University of Guelph