Monday, December 21, 2009

1st CFPC meeting of 2010 @Bow River Room @Calgary Water Centre @20Jan2010 @1900

Read more! Calgary Food Policy Council: 1st meeting of 2010 @Bow River Room @Calgary Water Centre @20Jan2010 @1900

Agenda submissions to

Thank you to Susan Hayduk @ The City of Calgary Eco FootPrint Team for making the hosting arrangements.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Household Food Production, Neighbours, Vibrant Streets VS Detached Garages/Back Lanes

Read more! Household Food Production, Neighbours, Vibrant Streets VS Detached Garages/Back Lanes

The relevant Land Use Bylaw section are s 341 (6) & (8) and the Infill Guidelines, which absolutely oppose front access in relation to rear garages.

The negative impact of this bylaw on arable greenspace, neighbourhoods & vibrant communities is HUGE.


1. Removes arable Greenspace from land inventory. Significantly reduces available space for backyard gardens. Casts shadows on gardens. Paves potential gowing space, more ashphalt.

2. Neighbourhoods & Vibrant Communities: Shifts energy from our front streets to back alleys. Less interaction with neighbours/community. Creates opportunity for crime in back alleys. Separates neighbours, often completely obscuring them from sight, especially Infills with 2 detached garages.

3. Cost: Think of all the back alleys that have been paved at a tremendous cost to taxpayers. The additional expense of a detached garage vs an attached garage.

4. This bylaw clashes heavily with imagineCalgary, The Melbourne Principles, PlanIt, Food Policy/Local Food Systems/Household Food Security and the new thinking in 21st Century urbanism.

Reconceptualizing our building bylaws is part of dynamic, progressive, sensible, inspired and acceptable urban growth.

The present vision completely discounts the contribution of local/household agriculture.

The CFPC suggests the integrity of a backyard, with all the beneficial associated uses, be prioritized as paramount in our planning bylaws and policy.

Paul Hughes
Calgary Food Policy Council

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Free Movie for all CFPC'ers “In Transition 1.0” Sunday , December 13, @ 1pm @ The Plaza in Kensington.

Read more!
Free for the CFPC...

The Calgary Food Policy Council is sponsoring the Calgary Premiere of “In Transition 1.0” (PG) Sunday , December 13, @ 1pm @ The Plaza in Kensington.

***CFPC people just have to say "I'm with the Calgary Food Policy Council" and they'll get in free.***

Come help us kick-off Transition Calgary with this film, a video of some of Calgary’s existing Transitional projects, and pledges to take action.
250 communities around the world are recognized as Transition Towns - strengthening the culture of local food production, energy conservation, and sustainable economics.

There are many other great groups involved... all part of Arusha Centre's Action Film Series and Co-Sponsored by The Calgary Food Policy Council, IRIS, Haskayne Business School, Green Calgary, Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Association, and the Plaza Theatre.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sustainability for Breakfast (S4B) Taste Test Drive I @ Lone Star Mercedes-Benz FREE EVENT

Read more!

Sustainability for Breakfast (S4B) Taste Test Drive I
Sponsored by Lone Star Mercedes-Benz and the Calgary Food Policy Council.

27Nov09 @ 0730-1030, Friday Morning FREE EVENT

LoneStarMercedes-Benz @

10 Heritage Meadows Road SE


Bus Stop: 5264 Bus 72

Featuring taste tests of local, organic, sustainable products, Smart Car test drives, and short Local Food System presentations from:

  • Kris Vester - Blue Mountain Biodynamic Farm
  • Julie Van Rosendaal - food writer and the food and nutrition columnist on CBC Calgary's Eyeopener,
  • Paul Hughes - Chair of the Calgary Food Policy Council, who will also speak to the outcomes of the recent Calgary Food Summit.
For more info:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

NEWS RELEASE: Calgary Food Policy Council to celebrate one-year anniversary

Read more!
NEWS RELEASE: Calgary Food Policy Council to celebrate one-year anniversary

For Immediate Release October 25, 2009

On Tuesday, 27Oct09, the Calgary Food Policy Council (CFPC) will celebrate its one year anniversary.

The CFPC has achieved many milestones in only its first year, not least of which is getting food back on the Calgary political menu.

Over the past year, the CFPC has launched a number of firsts for Calgary:

Calgary Food Charter
The Calgary Food Charter was launched on World Food Day 2009

Within 1 week, over 300 Calgarians have already signed onto the Calgary Food Charter. The goal for the CFPC is 100,000 signatures by World Food Day 2010

2. 2011 New Growing Spaces x 2011 Campaign
The CFPC is asking Calgarians to nominate and create 2011 New Growing Spaces by 2011.

3. Calgary Food Summit
The CFPC recently hosted a packed house for the Calgary Food Summit on World Food Day. Over 600 suggestions for improving Calgary’s Food System came out of the summit.

The items suggested most often were a commitment to building a resilient local food system, increased capacity of urban agriculture, access to city land, increased access to growing spaces for citizens via community gardens, more farmers markets with local foods and the development of an agricultural curriculum for students.

4. Downtown Calgary Community Garden
With Partners Downtown Calgary, Calgary FoodBank, City of Calgary & Sunnyside Home & Garden, the CFPC planted, maintained and harvested the most centrally located community garden in North America. Harvested greens were donated to the Calgary FoodBank and the Calgary Drop In Centre.

5. Calgary Community Garden/Urban Ag Sub Committee
The CFPC created the Calgary Community Garden/Urban Ag Sub Committee to allow Calgarians an opportunity to transparently express their views on Urban Agriculture and Community Gardens

6. FOOD INC & FRESH: The Movie
The CFPC cosponsored both of these movie premieres in Calgary.

7. Media campaign for Local Food Systems & Food Security
The CFPC launched a very successful awareness campaign with local media, focusing on the opportunity of creating a Local Food System and improving Food Security for all Calgarians.

8. Asserting the Universal Human Right to Food
Through support for a court challenge to a City of Calgary bylaw prohibiting urban hens, the CFPC is advocating for recognition of the UN International Declaration of a Human Right to Food.

9. Plan It Calgary, Calgary Foundation Vital Signs, CivicCamp, et al
The CFPC has been represented and prominent in numerous “Made in Calgary” initiatives which seek to create a better Calgary for our children. In Vital Signs, a third of Albertans said they would buy more local foods in 2010. Plan It Calgary began to define Green Infrastructure. A CivicCamp 2.0 group suggested that Calgary City Council should recognize the CFPC and begin to put in place the supports required to allow the CFPC to do work similar to that of the Toronto and Vancouver Food Policy Councils.


Paul Hughes, Chair, Calgary Food Policy Council

Tel: 403.383.3420


Proudly sponsored by Lone Star Mercedes & FIDO

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Calgary Food Summit on World Food Day, 16Oct09 @ 6pm

Read more!

Calgary Food Summit on World Food Day, 16Oct09 @ 6pm

The Calgary Food Policy Council & Big Rock present The Calgary Food Summit on World Food Day, 16Oct09

Register here for this free event... Calgary Food Summit

The Calgary Food Policy Council is hosting the groundbreaking Calgary Food Summit (CFS) on World Food Day, 16Oct09. The CFS is an inclusive opportunity for all those actively involved and working towards improving our local & regional food system.

The objective of the CFS, the first ever event of this type for Calgary, is to discuss progressive policy that will create and build an enhanced food security, food justice, food efficiency, urban ag, community garden & sustainable ag landscape in Calgary.

As we often conduct our community work independent of other local initiatives, bringing all the participants in our food systems together is an ideal way for our communities to celebrate World Food Day. The timing for a local convergence is fantastic, being on the heels of an amazing summer, harvest & the unparalleled growth, awareness and continued development of the sustainable food movement in North America.

If you are interested in attending or volunteering, please contact us...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Blue Mountain Farm Fundraiser, Friday 18Sep09 @ 7 pm Crescent Heights Community Hall

Read more! Party to support a great cause!

Friday, September 18 at 7:00 pm Crescent Heights Community Hall, 1101 - 2 Street NW

Blue Mountain Bio-Dynamic Farm
has been providing food for our tables and in our restaurants for years. Kris Vester, owner of Blue Mountain, is a long time food security educator. The recent hailstorm in central Alberta severely damaged a
number of crops and buildings.

Come together to enjoy live music, silent auction, local art, to support education and advocacy for local food growers! Bid on a silent auction items donated by local organizations and artists.

Enjoy a great music lineup including:
* Matt Masters
* Stephen a. van Kampen of Beija Flor
* Jay Crocker and Ghostkeeper
* Laura Leif
* DJ Bruno

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. 100% C$ Accepted Children under 14 get in for FREE. Advance tickets available at The Coup (924b - 17 Avenue SW) and Sunnyside Natural Market (#10, 338 - 10Street NW).

They're awesome people doing awesome things for this planet! Let's help them out!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Calgary Bylaw 27: Calgary woman to fight ticket for keeping livestock in city - chickens

Read more! Calgary woman to fight ticket for keeping livestock in city - chickens

Woman runs afowl of bylaw

Calgary woman to fight ticket for keeping livestock in city - chickens
(CP) CALGARY — A woman is going to fight a ticket in court for keeping livestock in her Calgary yard.

The woman keeps a few chickens on her property for eggs and to reduce organic waste.

She's not the only one - Paul Hughes has four chickens in his yard and he is a member of the "Calgary Liberated Urban Chicken Klub," also known as CLUCK.

CLUCK wants changes to the city bylaw to allow people to keep six hens or fewer on their property.

Hughes says Calgary should be feeding itself and more people want the option to grow their own food.

But Ald. Bob Hawkesworth says the city is a long way away from making changes that allow urban livestock.

"There is an issue obviously around food security and the cost of food and it's a movement that's growing in cities all over North America," said Hawkesworth.

"But there are so many aspects to it, from community gardens to urban livestock and I think some of the easier issues to address are the urban gardens and how we can grow our food."

Woman runs afowl of bylaw
Members of a local group advocating for changes to a city livestock bylaw are crying fowl after a woman was fined $200 for keeping hens in her backyard.

The woman, a member of CLUCK, Calgary Liberated Urban Chicken Klub, was issues the ticket for keeping four chickens.

CLUCK, including founder Paul Hughes, whose group is advocating for changes to the bylaw to allow raising six chickens with no noisy roosters, plan to fight the fine in court next month.

"In light of a right to food and the fact the city of Calgary does not have a food strategy for all Calgarians, we think this is wrong," he said.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Calgary Food Summit (CFS) on World Food Day, 16Oct09

Read more! Register here for the Calgary Food Summit
For more info on the Calgary Food Summit
A first for Calgary!
The Calgary Food Policy Council presents The Calgary Food Summit on World Food Day, 16Oct09.

The Calgary Food Policy Council will be hosting the groundbreaking Calgary Food Summit (CFS) on World Food Day, 16Oct09. The CFS is an inclusive opportunity for all those actively involved and working towards improving our local & regional food system.

The objective of the CFS, the first ever event of this type for Calgary, is to discuss progressive policy that will create and build an enhanced food security, food justice, food efficiency, urban ag, community garden & sustainable ag landscape in Calgary.

As we often conduct our affairs independent of other local initiatives, bringing all the participants in our food systems together at the International Hotel for the Calgary Food Summit is an ideal way for our communities to celebrate World Food Day. The timing for local convergence's is fantastic, being on the heels of an amazing summer, harvest & the unparalleled growth, awareness and development of the sustainable food movement in North America.

If you are interested in attending or volunteering, please contact the CFPC:

More Gardens!

The Calgary Food Policy Council & Big Rock present The Calgary Food Summit on World Food Day, 16Oct09

Friday, August 28, 2009

Event Tonight: THE DEVICE TO ROOT OUT STINK! Support Ramsay residents... Say NO to Lilydale Chicken Slaughterhouse...

Read more!
Contact Lilydale President Ed Rodenburg @ 780.472.4801 or email:

Ramsay residents fight chicken with chicken

This amazing contraption is guaranteed to rid any neighbourhood of the most noxious odours ever whiffed. And it's coming to Ramsay!
Come down, be astounded and confounded! Breathe easy and smell how beautiful air can be! Even in summer!

WHEN: Friday Aug 28!
6:30 - neighbourhood potluck bbq & family egg games
7:30 - unveiling of the remarkable DEVICE TO ROOT OUT STINK
8:30 - outdoor screening of "Chicken Run", with free popcorn for first 100 people!
note: a gas bbq will be provided, please bring something to grill

WHERE: In the Field to the south of St Anne's School, in Ramsay, behind the Shamrock.
Hurst Road & 9 St SE and 21 and 22 Ave SE.

This article is from 2005:

Ramsay residents oppose Lilydale rezoning

Lilydale (Abbotsford) surveillance video of cruelty:
Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Calgary Independent Food Policy Cramp: Working out the cramps

Read more! Working out the cramps.

Camp this, Camp that. Are you getting a Camp Cramp?

This fall, for the first time in Calgary's history, all the stakeholder's will be represented at a meeting to discuss the future of CG: Community Gardening. Up until now, this very important aspect of our city has been in the hyper controlling hands of a clique of bureaucrats with a narrow vision... no longer. It is a "broad vision from broad minds" world now for Community Gardens... Working out the cramps, getting the circulation of NEW BLOOD (see new ideas) going, getting rid of the lactic acid (see dead wood)... Growing new ideas for a sustainable future.

Policy Changes to Support Urban Agriculture

Real Food For A Change

Policymaking takes place at many levels, including: the community, foundation board rooms, city councils, state legislatures, business networks, professional associations, and the federal government. Food policy councils are emerging in cities and states to coordinate policy initiatives, research, education, and events that build community food security, including through urban agriculture. In the following section, policymakers are invited to support these basic concerns of urban agriculture and translate them into concrete policy proposals. This outline can serve as a guide for policymakers who seek to offer cities – and especially their urban core – greater food security and the benefits of urban greening.

· Support infrastructure for increased urban food production, processing, and marketing

Þ Support significant community-based infrastructure for urban growers such as tool banks with food growing equipment and supplies, community kitchens and other shared processing facilities, farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture ventures, funding streams, technical service providers, and urban extension agents.

Þ encourage farm-to-institution approaches for direct marketing of local products that offer healthy food choices to schools (including Head Start), hospitals, prisons, and businesses, while creating economic opportunities for urban growers and related industries.

Þ Expand the WIC Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program and the Seniors Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program so that all states provide support for buying fresh produce at farmers’ markets

Þ Link training and welfare-to-work work programs for unemployed people to opportunities in urban food-related businesses as a source of living wage jobs.

· Extend to urban growers appropriate farm-related services and opportunities.

Þ Government, banks, land-grant universities, and private businesses need to tailor their offerings so that urban growers as well as rural farmers also have access to such benefits as start-up capital, credit, crop insurance, horticultural and financial advice, soil testing, markets, subsidies, tools, and inputs such as seeds and soil amendments.

Þ While the needs of urban farmers are in certain cases similar to those of rural farmers, in other cases they are different and require special services. Policymakers can work with representatives of community gardening and urban farming organizations, as well as food policy councils, to meet these needs (see above, V. Challenges Facing Urban Agriculture.)

· Support initiatives that convert idle and under-used urban lands and other resources for raising food, and preserve farms on the urban fringe.

Þ Encourage land tenure schemes such as land trusts, leases, eminent domain, and allied policy initiatives. Securing long-term commitment for community gardens, entrepreneurial farms, and other urban agriculture ventures is imperative to ensure the horticultural, social, and economic value of the endeavor.

Þ Incorporate urban agriculture in city land use plans as a desirable civic activity that improves the quality of urban life, food security, neighborhood safety and environmental stewardship. Zoning ordinances need to enable rather than prohibit the development of appropriate agriculture in residential, industrial, business, and open space zones.

Þ Amend building codes so that they reflect the actual structural contingencies of rooftop gardening.

Þ Convert some of the public lands in urban parks, and around municipal buildings, schools, public housing, hospitals, etc., to food production with plantings of fruit trees, edible landscaping, and vegetable gardens.

Þ Provide support and access to public waterways for raising fish in cities (aquaculture) as an inexpensive high-protein food.

Þ Enhance municipal support for composting solid waste with door-to-door collection of organic material, on-site composting facilities in urban agriculture projects, public education programs and advice,

· Promote and develop urban food growing training activities.

Þ Organize a web of training activities in a variety of settings, including schools, colleges, health care facilities, and continuing education programs in order to improve the knowledge of current growers and motivate potential new growers.

Þ Offer school-based programs that integrate nutrition and gardening in order to raise awareness about the connection between healthy food choices and locally-grown fresh produce.

Þ Two key concepts to promote are Primary Agriculture Education for all, and Secondary Food System Assessment, including mapping of the food system.

· Sponsor and publicize research on the horticultural, social, and economic factors that contribute to successful urban agriculture projects.

ÞFund research on such basic topics as the most appropriate crops to grow in urban areas; community-based leadership development for urban agriculture and community food security; the economics of financial incentives to growers and consumers; urban soil remediation demonstrations; policies to expand urban agriculture within low-income communities and utilize the food-growing skills of immigrants and minorities; develop campaigns to utilize local and regional food; expand production and markets for ethnic foods; publicize the health benefits and health care savings from increased vegetable consumption by urban growers.

Conclusion: Realizing the Potential of Urban Agriculture

Constraints on urban agriculture have prevented farmers and consumers from realizing its full potential in the United States. The policies and actions outlined above, as well as others, will help to promote urban agriculture as a powerful instrument for building community food security and increasing economic development in U.S. cities. Urban agriculture worldwide shows us best practices and policy changes that can help us in the United States, as well as problems and difficulties we can learn from.[37] This guide is a tool for community organizations and food security networks to use in their work with local, state and regional governments, as well as with federal agencies, to expand urban agriculture in the United States, and develop a more just and sustainable food system.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Calgary Food Policy Council: Calgary Community Garden/Urban Ag Sub Committee

Read more! Calgary Food Policy Council: Calgary Community Garden/Urban Ag Sub Committee

You can post ideas here:

or comment on this post.

All Calgarians are welcome to share policy suggestions for the creation of future/progressive Community Garden/Urban Ag policy.


"Our mandate is to bring citizens' voices and values into public policy decisions and to foster greater civic literacy and engagement. We build support and capacity for public involvement among public policy-makers, politicians, practitioners, and the public. We work to add knowledge to this field by undertaking, fostering and disseminating research in collaboration with researchers and practitioners. Our work is inspired by the belief that engaging the public leads to better policy outcomes and a stronger democracy."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tickets for tonight's premiere of Food Inc.

Read more! There are tickets available at the door for a reduced price of $7.00 instead of the usual $10.00 for tonight's premier of Food Inc. at the Uptown theatre on 8th Avenue SW at 5th Street SW. Please contact Paul Hughes at earthsofft [at] or via phone or SMS to be put on the list.

A few of us had a chance to see the pre-screening on Wednesday evening at a jam-packed theatre. It is fantastically well-produced and hard-hitting. Needless to say, it's a must see.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

FFWD ::: Room to grow ::: The push is on to grow food in our unused spaces

Read more! From FFWD
Room to Grow
The push is on to grow food in our unused spaces
Published July 9, 2009 by Julie Van Rosendaal in Urban Living
Andy Nichols

If Calgary has an excess of anything, it’s space. Space that needs to be maintained. Each year crews of gardeners, landscapers and snow removers spend thousands of hours and many tax dollars keeping green (and not so green) spaces tidy. Paul Hughes, a well-entrenched local landscaper and the founder and chair of the Calgary Food Policy Council, would like to see that excess city land put to better use; preferably growing food.

“We are anti-grass,” Hughes says of his group, over coffee in a corner booth at Café Beano. “Calgary has more space than any urban area in North America and most of it isn’t being used well.” To be precise, there are almost 8,000 hectares of usable land in Calgary that Hughes envisions being transformed into edible green spaces by anyone who has the will and a shovel. “Wouldn’t it be a waste of ice if we didn’t have hockey or curling?” he asks.

The non-profit CFPC is driving the 2,011 by 2011 initiative, challenging Calgarians and City Hall to establish 2,011 new growing spaces by 2011. But it’s not just the land the group sees potential in; the CFPC is proposing that Calgary’s Plus-15 system incorporate indoor growing. The members view the world's most extensive pedestrian skywalk system (with a total length of 16 km) as the world's largest network of greenhouses.

Urban gardening is in our roots. From 1914 until the mid-’50s, Calgary’s Vacant Lots Garden Club converted empty lots and other spaces into prolific food sources. Members paid $1 per year and chipped in to tend and harvest the bounty of well over 3,000 plots. The last three remaining VLGC plots have been in Bridgeland-Riverside since 1922, where they are still maintained by residents. Last fall, the 825-square-metre lot was designated as a municipal historic resource, ensuring the site remains devoted to growing food.

In 2008, there were only nine public community gardens in Calgary, along with a few private gardens that had community building as the goal. (Between them, 376 plots were available. This year four new gardens have been approved by the city.) According to the Calgary Horticultural Society, 99,672 square feet were being cultivated last year, with over 750 people getting their hands dirty throughout the city. This year Bowness, Cliff Bungalow-Mission, Hillhurst-Sunnyside, Killarney-Glengarry and South Calgary (one at the Community Centre and another at Rundle Academy) have gardens available to residents for a small fee. Cedarbrae, Maple Ridge-Willow Park, Montgomery and Rocky Ridge-Royal Oak (the largest with 40 plots) had new proposals approved by the city in March. This spring, Hillhurst-Sunnyside expanded their garden to include the city’s first community orchard.

There are some gardens open to all Calgary residents: McClure Community of Gardeners and the University of Calgary Campus Community Garden, as well as the Garden Path Society, which co-ordinates Calgary’s largest community garden in Inglewood (103 plots). Last summer Garden Path launched Cornucopia on a half-acre behind Colonel Walker School, where over 1,360 kg of organic produce was grown and harvested by program participants, staff, garden members and volunteers. Anyone interested in gaining hands-on gardening experience can benefit from educational workshops and on-the-spot learning while nurturing fresh produce for a good cause. Last year, 907 kg of fruit and vegetables were donated to local charities and non-profit organizations. This summer, Cornucopia is open to Calgarians twice a week, when they are welcome to pick, pull and purchase organic fruit and vegetables, with proceeds going back into the program.


In May, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) transformed a vacant lot in the East Village into a temporary community garden and the free plots were snapped up by residents in a matter of days; the project took about two weeks from conception to completion. And downtown on Barclay Parade — Third Street S.W. between Fifth and Sixth Avenues — two concrete flower planters were replanted with 20 varieties of herbs and vegetables, which will be tended by local businesses and the yield donated to the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank.

The potential is certainly here and the will is catching up, as people try to reconnect with the source of their food and seek out more economical organic produce that racks up the fewest travel miles. Urban gardens have been referred to as the accessory of the summer; everyone has one — the Obamas, the Schwarzeneggers, even the Queen. Gardening is the new black; it could even be the new dot-com. South of the border, micro gardens are popping up, even in high density areas, and if you want to grow your own but lack the motivation or expertise, you can hire a garden trainer (or personal gardener) to help you along.

The trend toward community-supported agriculture (CSA) is inevitable. More than half the world’s population (about 3.3 billion people) live in urban areas, with the ratio even higher in developed countries. CSAs aren’t limited to vacant lots filled with rows of edible plants to share with your neighbours (a selling point for some that makes others cringe). All manner of inner-city gardening falls under the umbrella of urban agriculture — small, inner-city (for-profit) farms, co-ops, market gardens, micro market gardens, community gardens, small individual plots and even container gardens clustered on high-rise patios. Allotment gardens, which are concentrations of parcels cultivated by individual members of an association rather than shared with neighbours, are popular in many European countries and the concept is catching on in Canada. Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, for example, offers garden plots for community members for only $53.50 per year.


Many look to the Cuban model for inspiration. In Cuba, 70 per cent of the vegetables and herbs that feed a population of over 11 million are organic and grown in urban gardens — referred to as organopónicos or micro huertos — which occupy a total of about 35,000 hectares (86,000 acres) of land. Cuba’s so-called green revolution was triggered two decades ago by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which eliminated the country’s main trading partner and only source of petroleum, chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and abruptly ended the support of Cuba’s food and agriculture sectors by the Soviet Bloc. Cubans’ daily caloric intake dropped by a third, so they had no choice but to figure out how to feed themselves, with negligible water and without the conveniences of modern agriculture.

The catastrophe led to a complete restructuring of the agricultural system that saw the redistribution of 80 per cent of state-owned land to co-ops and independents. In cities like Havana, gardens popped up in vacant lots, back alleys, parks and rooftops; anywhere there was space. Twenty years later, Cubans have a well-established, socially and environmentally sustainable means of feeding themselves, with a higher intake of fruit and vegetables and a significantly reduced reliance on foreign food. Because the overhead is low and produce is sold a few feet from where it’s grown — about as fresh and local as you can get — buying local and organic is the norm.

Similarly spurred by political and socio-economic factors, victory gardens were famously planted in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Germany during the First and Second World Wars in order to reduce pressure on the food supply brought on by the war effort. Establishing food security doesn’t have the same urgency in present-day Calgary, but our priorities and perspectives are changing.

“Community gardens raise land values.” Hughes says. “They add to the vibrancy of community, food justice, food security.” (Food security is becoming a familiar term. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.)

“I can’t see any downsides,” he says, listing the benefits of urban farming until he runs out of fingers: increased revenue, more jobs, less tax money spent on grass maintenance, lower greenhouse emissions as a result of reduced food miles, increased food security, green credibility, social interaction and community building, and healthier Calgarians who have easier access to fresh, lower-cost fruits and vegetables. A city of healthier citizens carries its own list of benefits.

Watching cities like New York (the same size as Calgary, with more than 10 times the population), Los Angeles, London, England and San Francisco make the most of their limited space prompted Hughes to launch the 2011 plan. The concept follows Vancouver’s lead. In 2006, Vancouver City Council issued a challenge to individuals, families, community groups and neighbourhood organizations to work with the Vancouver Food Policy Council — a voluntary citizen body that was recognized in 2003 when Vancouver Council approved the Action Plan for Creating a Just and Sustainable Food System for the city — to create 2,010 new shared garden plots by 2010 as part of its Olympic legacy (in addition to the 950 that already existed in 2006). Since 2006, the total number of plots has grown to over 2,400. London has a similar goal: 2,012 by the 2012 Summer Olympics.


After meeting with the city’s parks department about the logistics of the 2011 campaign, Hughes sent out a frustrated e-mail. “One fact that came up,” he wrote, “[is that] there are some 800 seasonal workers with Calgary Parks. Not one of the 800 hard-working people who go around our city for six months with trucks and machinery produce food. That’s 768,000 hours of work a year and not one towards food and nutrition.”

City Parks maintains 7,500 hectares of land at over 3,400 sites, 975 playgrounds, 410 ball diamonds, 500 soccer and football fields and 120 off-leash dog areas. We have the most extensive urban pathway and bikeway network in North America — 580 km connected by 67 bridges.

Hughes sees urban agriculture as a growth industry, proposing that we could be generating income from unused land rather than paying for its upkeep. He’s not looking to reclaim parks and playgrounds, but the in-between spaces, the chunks of grass that are generally passed by unnoticed. Beyond the obvious benefits of health, community, sustainability, economy and a reduced environmental footprint, what really excites Hughes is the concept of entrepreneurial urban agriculture as a new and lucrative industry, one that is just being realized in larger centers like New York. And if they’re pulling it off there, he argues, the concept has enormous potential in a city known for its urban sprawl.

Reaching across the table to borrow my notepad, he scribbles a rough diagram of a box with a smaller, shaded box in one corner. The diagram is meant to compare our city’s unused space with that of an imaginary retail location. “A store wouldn’t allow so much space to sit unused, not generating revenue,” he explains. “It doesn’t make sense.”

Hughes envisions a collaborative effort among agrarians, the city and local contractors, who can avoid dump fees and reduce landfill waste by dropping off materials for use in gardening projects. In a perfect world, compost would be collected and distributed as well, with pick-up and drop-off stations scattered across the city. The obstacle is accessing city and provincially owned land, even temporarily, until it’s developed or other plans come about. “We just want access to it,” he says. “We’re not asking them to do anything.” If Hughes gets his wish, it would be the largest shovel-ready infrastructure project the city has seen — one that won’t cost millions of tax dollars.

Some argue that nothing grows here; this isn’t Vancouver, after all. But stuff actually does grow here, and something edible could take up that space where the grass and the pavement is. We may not be able to cultivate peaches, but our sunny climate (Calgary is among the sunniest in Canada, with around 2,400 hours of sunshine annually) is perfectly suited to growing tomatoes, greens, asparagus, potatoes, herbs, chard, peas, beans, beets, zucchini, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, radishes and squash, to name some.

Besides, it’s not just forward-thinking cities like New York, Vancouver and Seattle that are big into urban agriculture. Even Edmonton is host to 38 successful community gardens, with another two in Stony Plain and St. Albert. An Ipsos-Reid poll on behalf of City Farmer (Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture) found that 40 per cent of Greater Toronto households produce some of their own food. And Montreal has the highest number of communal gardens in Canada, with 97 spaces divided into approximately 8,200 plots. Montrealers put a high priority on urban agriculture; there is often pressure to develop on green space, which prompts individuals and groups to lobby at municipal meetings and protect the land against commercialization.

“Nothing helps ground a city more than agriculture,” says Hughes. “But the vision is not coming from the city, the vision is coming from citizens. There’s a massive disconnect.” We can’t see the garden for the lawn.

07.08.09 ::: Urban agriculture and food sovereignty in Cuba

Read more! Urban agriculture and food sovereignty in Cuba

The following is the text of a talk given by Jorge Soberon, Cuba’s Consul General in Toronto, Canada, to a meeting of food sovereignty sponsored by the Venezuela We Are With You Coalition (CVEC).

["Food sovereignty" is a term coined by members of Via Campesina in 1996 to refer to a policy framework advocated by a number of farmers, peasants, pastoralists, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, women, rural youth and environmental organizations, namely the claimed "right" of peoples to define their own food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries systems, in contrast to having food largely subject to international market forces. See additional information at the end of this article.]

Cuban Market

As a sovereign country, Cuba is working to develop its food industry and reduce dependence on food imports.

Cuba is working to ensure an adequate level of food to more than 11 million inhabitants. In Cuba no one is helpless or dying of hunger. There are special programs to ensure food for the most vulnerable segments of the population.

To achieve this goal, Cuba faces high world market prices and the growing negative effects of climate change and the policy of the United States.

Food imports from the United States continue to be affected by insecurity. They are subject to strict supervision and licensing for export and transportation of agricultural products to our country. Moreover, Cuba has no access to the technologies available in the United States or to credit from that country.

The Cuban government has identified food production as a major task and a matter of utmost national security. More than half of the agricultural land in Cuba is held by non-governmental organizations.

Due to the demise of the Soviet Union and the strengthening of the blockade of the United States during the 90s, Cuba faced an economic crisis that forced us to seek solutions to our national food production.

Thus the urban agriculture in Cuba, a country where 75% of its population lives in urban areas, but an important part comes from the countryside and has farming culture.

Urban agriculture is carried out throughout the country and is planned taking into account the number of inhabitants of each town or city. The organic matter that is used and the biological controls in place makes it possible to preserve the fertility of the soil. The available area is used to produce food in an intensive manner. Science and technology are applied, maintaining a supply of fresh products, all with the goal of obtaining a balanced production of agricultural products.

Urban agriculture is an important source of income, due to the demand of the popular market, the workplaces, and special places that exist to take care of vulnerable populations. The high educational level of the people facilitates the rapid assimilation of new techniques and technologies. Urban agriculture constitutes a major source of urban nutrition, contributes to the elimination of urban rubbish dumps and constitutes an important source of employment. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans have jobs in urban agriculture. In Cuba, urban agriculture is supported by seed houses and agricultural centres of production of organic matter.

Foods obtained through urban agriculture constitute an important amount of the total consumed by the population in cities, in addition to other options like imported food or food guaranteed by the state.

The system of urban agriculture in Cuba produced more than 1.4 million tons of food in 2008, in more than nine thousand hectares located in all municipalities. In 10 years, vegetable production increased six times over.

Three factors have been crucial to their advancement: Training of the workforce. The system of payment to workers by the end results of labour. Systematic evaluation of the results.

Urban agriculture is one of the best alternatives for the restoration of food production after the passage of hurricanes, allowing the recovery of agricultural production in few months.

Among the recent steps taken to further develop agricultural production is the distribution of vacant land for its use, for those that can produce food. At present, Cuba is modernizing its food industry to increase the ability to process and preserve agricultural products.

The development of agriculture in Cuba receives strong support from the state. The actions taken contribute to food security and adequate nutrition. The goal is not only to produce food, but also to make it affordable and accessible to the population. The habit of consuming vegetables has grown and generates jobs and income, product prices are competitive and urban agriculture has improved hygiene and sanitation of the cities by developing agriculture in areas that are abandoned.

In addition, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA: Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela) is a tool for agricultural and rural development of nations of the region and aims to ensure access to fair and stable prices of basic foods through cooperation on food sovereignty and security.

Cuba will continue to work and cooperate with other countries to ensure the solution of dietary and nutritional needs for all its people, protecting and enhancing thereby the living standards of the Cuban people and other peoples and promoting national initiatives to ensure our sovereignty and independence in food production and distribution.

[Thanks for this to Suzanne Weiss of CVEC.]

Via Campesina’s seven principles of food sovereignty include:

1. Food: A Basic Human Right. Everyone must have access to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food in sufficient quantity and quality to sustain a healthy life with full human dignity. Each nation should declare that access to food is a constitutional right and guarantee the development of the primary sector to ensure the concrete realization of this fundamental right.
2. Agrarian Reform. A genuine agrarian reform is necessary which gives landless and farming people – especially women – ownership and control of the land they work and returns territories to indigenous peoples. The right to land must be free of discrimination the basis of gender, religion, race, social class or ideology; the land belongs to those who work it.
3. Protecting Natural Resources. Food Sovereignty entails the sustainable care and use of natural resources, especially land, water, and seeds and livestock breeds. The people who work the land must have the right to practice sustainable management of natural resources and to conserve biodiversity free of restrictive intellectual property rights. This can only be done from a sound economic basis with security of tenure, healthy soils and reduced use of agro-chemicals.
4. Reorganizing Food Trade. Food is first and foremost a source of nutrition and only secondarily an item of trade. National agricultural policies must prioritize production for domestic consumption and food self-sufficiency. Food imports must not displace local production nor depress prices.
5. Ending the Globalization of Hunger. Food Sovereignty is undermined by multilateral institutions and by speculative capital. The growing control of multinational corporations over agricultural policies has been facilitated by the economic policies of multilateral organizations such as the WTO, World Bank and the IMF. Regulation and taxation of speculative capital and a strictly enforced Code of Conduct for TNCs is therefore needed.
6. Social Peace. Everyone has the right to be free from violence. Food must not be used as a weapon. Increasing levels of poverty and marginalization in the countryside, along with the growing oppression of ethnic minorities and indigenous populations, aggravate situations of injustice and hopelessness. The ongoing displacement, forced urbanization, repression and increasing incidence of racism of smallholder farmers cannot be tolerated.
7. Democratic control. Smallholder farmers must have direct input into formulating agricultural policies at all levels. The United Nations and related organizations will have to undergo a process of democratization to enable this to become a reality. Everyone has the right to honest, accurate information and open and democratic decision-making. These rights form the basis of good governance, accountability and equal participation in economic, political and social life, free from all forms of discrimination. Rural women, in particular, must be granted direct and active decisionmaking on food and rural issues.

Food sovereignty is increasingly being promoted as an alternative framework to the narrower concept of food security, which mostly focuses on the technical problem of providing adequate nutrition. For instance, a food security agenda that simply provides surplus grain to hungry people would probably be strongly criticised by food sovereignty advocates as just another form of commodity dumping, facilitating corporate penetration of foreign markets, undermining local food production, and possibly leading to irreversible biotech contamination of indigenous crops with patented varieties. U.S. taxpayer subsidized exports of Bt corn to Mexico since the passage of NAFTA is a case in point.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mad City Chickens & Support local farmers

Read more! Mad City Chickens movie

The CFPC is securing this screening for Calgary.

Support local farmers.

Help your favorite farmers market win some cash this summer.

Civileats and report on Farmers Market contests:

Civil Eats


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Calgary Food Policy Council creates the Calgary Community Garden/Urban Ag Sub Committee

Read more! Calgary Food Policy Council creates the Calgary Community Garden/Urban Ag Sub Committee

All Calgarians are welcome to share policy suggestions for the creation of future/progressive Community Garden/Urban Ag policy.


Devonian Gardens
The city has approved $23,000,000 for 1 garden. Based on the 2009 Community Garden pilot project budget of $10K/garden, the same funds would help create 2300 community gardens, making Calgary the global leader in urban ag. According to the media release, the Devonian Garden expansion will make Calgary the global leader in skylights for shopping.

Have Your Say in Calgary’s Vital Signs 2009 survey...

Present inventory of Community Gardens:
Calgary Downtown Community Garden (Barkley Mall/3rd St between 5th & 6th Ave SW)
Bowness Community Garden
Bridgeland Riverside Community Garden (at Carewest)
Bridgeland Riverside Historic Gardens aka Vacant Lot Garden Society
Cliff Bungalow/Mission Allotment Community Garden
Rocky Ridge/Royal Oak (NW),
Montgomery (NW),
Maple Ridge/Willow Park (SE),
Cedarbrae (SW)
Community Crop: South Calgary
Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Garden
Killarney Glengarry Community Garden
McClure Community of Gardeners (formerly Robert McClure United Church Community Garden)
Patch Paradise
Silver Springs Floral Ornamental Community Garden & Birthplace Forest
Sunalta Wildflower Community Garden
Unitarian Church
University of Calgary Campus Community Garden
The Garden Path in Inglewood
The Community Garden at Fort Calgary

Saturday, June 27, 2009

National Geographic ::: The Global Food Crisis ::: The End of Plenty

Read more! National Geographic ::: The Global Food Crisis ::: The End of Plenty

It is the simplest, most natural of acts, akin to breathing and walking upright. We sit down at the dinner table, pick up a fork, and take a juicy bite, obliv­ious to the double helping of global ramifications on our plate. Our beef comes from Iowa, fed by Nebraska corn. Our grapes come from Chile, our bananas from Honduras, our olive oil from Sicily, our apple juice—not from Washington State but all the way from China. Modern society has relieved us of the burden of growing, harvesting, even preparing our daily bread, in exchange for the burden of simply paying for it. Only when prices rise do we take notice. And the consequences of our inattention are profound.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Court rules GE alfalfa can result in irreversible harm to crops

Read more! Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Court rules GE alfalfa can result in irreversible harm to crops

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the planting of GE alfalfa can cause potentially irreversible harm to organic and conventional crops. Monsanto’s petition to rehear was denied in full.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

American shoppers misled by greenwash, Congress told

Read more! American shoppers misled by greenwash, Congress told

98% of supposedly environmentally friendly products in US supermarkets make false or confusing claims, campaigners say

More than 98% of supposedly natural and environmentally friendly products on US supermarket shelves are making potentially false or misleading claims, Congress has been told. And 22% of products making green claims bear an environmental badge that has no inherent meaning, said Scot Case, of the environmental consulting firm TerraChoice.

The study of nearly 4,000 consumer products found "greenwashing" in nearly every product category – from a lack of verifiable information to outright lies.

2011 New Growing Spaces in Calgary by 2011

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Vancouver City Hall Garden - 1 Calgary City Hall Garden - 0

Read more!
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson got his hands dirty planting wheat at the opening of the plots at city hall.

And the city is in good company -- both the White House and Buckingham Palace have recently started growing food in gardens on the state grounds.

Vancouver City Hall Garden

Back in Calgary, the mayor's response is to deny the existence of an urban agriculture movement in North America. He also includes a dig at the CFPC... "They are only a small group," states the Mayor. A small group with big ideas, the kind of ideas that grow community in an urban setting.

*Editor's note* 100% of Calgarians consume food products making us the largest group in Calgary...

Calgary Mayor's email address:

Write him... plant the seeds of change.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What is a CSA?

Read more!
What is a CSA?

What is a C.S.A?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it is a method whereby urban (and I suppose suburban) dwellers invest in a share of a local farm in exchange for the bounty of that farm during the harvest season. They have grown in popularity in recent years, and its not uncommon for certain CSA’s to sell out their available shares, and for farmers to not be able to meet the demand. This is all good news for several reasons.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Location change: CFPC Meeting... 09June09, Tuesday @ 7pm @ The Library of Knox United Church

Read more! Next CFPC Meeting... 09June09, Tuesday @ 1900-2030 @ The Library of Knox United Church
featuring Plan It Calgary & how it addresses Urban Ag issues.

Our sponsorship agreement to use the Living Room space was contingent on possibly being bumped by a paying customer. This is the case. The Living Room has offered the room for a future meeting.

Thank you to Ryan Slifka for making the booking at Knox United.

We'll be walking over to the Downtown Community Garden after the meeting for a quick tour.

Please forward any agenda submissions to

Humus & Hummer...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Intensive & Intelligent Urban Ag in Japan

Read more! Intensive and Intelligent: Urban Agriculture in Ogawa-Machi, Japan

By Katherine Kelly

I just returned from a trip to Japan with nine other farmers, food activists
and academics as part of a Japan-Kansas exchange looking at organic
agriculture and food movements. The goal of the exchange is to share
strategies for building a local organic food movement here and there.

We spent a week in the Saitama prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, visiting
organic and urban farms and food businesses; in June, a group of ten
Japanese visitors will come to Kansas, touring Lawrence area farms and
coming into Kansas City for the Urban Farms & Gardens Tour.

During the planning phase of the trip, I wondered if there would be enough
urban agriculture for my interests, since the descriptions of the farms on
our itinerary seemed mostly “rural.” On the first day though, as we left
the Tokyo airport by train, I realized that it was likely that all of the
agriculture we were going to see fit my definition of “urban.” (If you can
see homes and businesses while standing in your field, you are probably an
urban farmer.)

Looking out the train window, I saw that every bit of land that wasn’t a
mountain and that wasn’t developed was planted to vegetable and grain
crops. Rice paddies, wheat fields, and vegetable gardens and farms lined
the railroad tracks and could be seen interwoven with houses, apartment
buildings, and businesses. The fields were tiny--perhaps a quarter to half
an acre, sometimes there were multiple fields abutting each other,
vegetables next to rice paddies next to wheat fields next to the mountains.

The majority of our time was spent in Ogawa-Machi, a town of 30,000 which
felt more like an extension of Tokyo than the small rural town I had
expected. As we walked around the streets, I took picture after picture of
“urban” agriculture until I realized that what I had seen along the train
tracks held true here, too. At houses with no lawn (most of the city was
composed of what we would call townhomes) there would be pots of flowers or
vegetables or herbs. It wasn’t unusual to see the tiniest bit of ground
bordering a parking lot planted to potatoes, or the little triangles of land
formed by streets joining at an angle covered in bunching onions. Land
between apartment buildings had several hundred square feet of potatoes and
multiple long rows of onions and cabbages and garlic chives as well as other
vegetables. At the edges of town, butting up against the mountains, you
could see small trucks parked alongside fields, tractors working in the rice
paddies and individuals and families out working in their plots. It was
hard to tell what were commercial plots and what were home gardens;
everything was managed so intensively and so intelligently.

For part of the trip, we had home-stays at organic farms. I was privileged
to stay at the Frostpia Farm, an organic vegetable, rice, soybean, and wheat
farm. It was described as the grandparent of organic agriculture in that
area; for over 38 years, they have trained hundreds of apprentices and
helped give birth to some 30 other farms. Their vegetable production was at
the scale of KCCUA’s Community Farm, with perhaps 2 plus acres under
cultivation. In addition, they kept another three to four acres in rice,
wheat, and soybeans. Mountains enclosed the farm on two sides, the other
two sides butted up against small homes and city streets. Deliveries of
vegetables to buyers were quick, taking as little as ten minutes from farm
to grocery store and restaurant.

In the kitchens as well as on the streets, healthy vegetables were
everywhere. Many small stores and restaurants carried produce; in one
highly developed Tokyo neighborhood, we saw a "green grocer" driving around
a neighborhood selling fresh fruits and vegetables to people directly from
the truck. Each meal was dominated by vegetables; we guessed that most
people eat their “five-a-day” before breakfast is even over. Even the
prepared foods so widely available were composed primarily of vegetables.

Japan has one of the healthiest populations in the world, and you could see
it in the bodies and faces of children, adults, and seniors alike. Women in
Japan have the longest life expectancy in the world; girls born today are
expected to live to 86 years of age; boys to 79 years. The obesity rate
there is around 3% (here it is around 30%). The causes behind such good
national health are complex, attributable in no small part to the fact that
this is a nation of walkers and bikers; but healthy, plant-based eating and
the powerful daily connection to vegetable production are clearly central to
their healthier lifestyles.

The cities I saw offered me a vision of what food-productive urban spaces
might look like. The streets seemed friendlier and safer because of the
presence of so much green space; the modest and patient work of planting and
maintaining gardens somehow grounded the intense pace of living we saw. It
occurred to me that if natural or man-made disaster should strike, their
cities would be much better able to feed themselves; they have the know-how,
and the basic infrastructure. In the face of intense development and
population pressure in their cities, the Japanese have generally maintained
a commitment to small scale agriculture and food production as a social and
an economic good. The Ministry of Agriculture recently re-affirmed its
commitment to greater food self-sufficiency, and is backing that commitment
up with substantial financial and human resources.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Effect of Community Gardens on Neighboring Property Values

Read more! The Effect of Community Gardens on Neighboring Property Values

Cities across the United States and Canada increasingly are debating the best way to use vacant infill lots. The community garden movement is one of the major contenders for the space, as are advocates for small public pocket parks and other green spaces. To allocate the land most efficiently and fairly, local governments need sound research about the value of such gardens and parks to their host communities.

At the same time, cities are looking for new ways of financing the development and maintenance of public garden and park space. Some have turned to tax increment financing to generate resources; others are introducing impact fees or special assessments to cover the costs of urban parks. In order to employ such financing mechanisms, both policy concerns and legal constraints require local governments to base their charges on sound data about the impacts green spaces have on the value of the neighboring properties that would be forced to bear the incidence of the tax or fee.

Despite the clear public policy need for such data, our knowledge about the impacts community gardens and other such spaces have on surrounding neighborhoods is quite limited. No studies have focused specifically on community gardens, and those that have examined the property value impacts of parks and other open space are cross-sectional studies inattentive to when the park opened, so that it is impossible to determine the direction of the causality of any property value differences found. The existing literature also has paid insufficient attention to qualitative differences among the parks studied and to differences in characteristics of the surrounding neighborhoods that might affect the parks' impacts.

Applying hedonic methods to a unique data set of all property sales in New York City over several decades, we compared the prices of properties within a given distance of community gardens to prices of comparable properties outside the designated ring, but still located in the same neighborhood. By examining whether and how this difference changed once a community garden was established, we account for any systematic differences between the sites used for community gardens and other land in the neighborhood, thus resolving questions about the direction of causality and helping to disentangle the specific effects of community gardens from other contemporaneous changes occurring across neighborhoods and properties in the city.

We find that the opening of a community garden has a statistically significant positive impact on residential properties within 1000 feet of the garden, and that the impact increases over time. We find that gardens have the greatest impact in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Higher quality gardens have the greatest positive impact. Finally, we find that the opening of a garden is associated with other changes in the neighborhood, such as increasing rates of homeownership, and thus may be serving as catalysts for economic redevelopment of the community.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Calgary Downtown Community Garden Launched!

Read more!
CBC TV story for the launch of the Downtown Community Garden...

also in Calgary Herald Wednesday page A11...
"It's a very cool concept,"said Heidi Lambie, a spokeswoman for Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank. "Having fresh produce is really important for our people, because it's healthier."

Metro Wednesday page 3
"We have unused space within city limits," said Paul Hughes, Chair of the Calgary Food Policy Council. "Time for a savvy city like Calgary to use this space wisely."

Calgary East Village Community Garden Launch

Calgary Food Policy Blog...

2011 New Growing Spaces in Calgary by 2011...

Calgary Food Policy Facebook Group....

Volunteers from the CFPC will also be tending the Calgary Downtown Community Garden... just the tip of the iceberg lettuce!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Herald Op Ed: Calgary should implement its own pesticide directive

Read more! This post from CivicCamp Calgary...

Thank you to Gideon Forman, ED of Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, for supporting the phase out of pesticides used for non-essential or cosmetic purposes!

Robin McLeod
Coalition for a Healthy Calgary

Calgary should implement its own pesticide directive

On July, 15, 2008, Calgary city council directed staff to draft a bylaw banning non-essential pesticides and bring it to the Utilities and Environment Committee no later than October, 2009.

It seemed like a simple directive and following its passage the Herald reported that "city staff said what happens next is clear: a bylaw phasing out the use of pesticides will be brought forward in the fall of 2009."

But what staff once labelled clear they now label unclear. They now say the issue is mired in confusion and they are calling for a delay of the whole process until April, 2010.

We in the health community believe there is, in fact, no confusion here. Rather, "lack of clarity" is being used as an excuse to sideline the pesticide issue until the spring --pushing it into an election year during which aldermen will be reluctant to pass it. It's a clever strategy by anti-ban fanatics, but it doesn't leave the people of Calgary well-served.

Full story...Calgary should implement its own pesticide directive

Monday, June 1, 2009

Media Advisory: CFPC/2011 & Partners... Urban Ag Garden Launch Tuesday, June 2, 2009 @ 10:30am

Read more! Everyone is welcome to attend...

What: Urban Community Garden Pilot Project Launch

When: Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Where: West side Barclay Parade (3 Street SW)
between 5 Avenue and 6 Avenue

Media Advisory

Community Garden grows amidst office towers in Downtown Calgary

May 29, 2009 (Calgary Alberta) – Community gardens are not a new concept to Calgary and can be found in many residential communities. These gardens provide access to fresh produce and help with neighbourhood improvement by aiding in a sense of community. However, never have they been located in an urban environment surrounded by office towers and low residential density.

Downtown Calgary in partnership with the Calgary Food Policy Council, Sunnyside Home and Garden Centre, the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank and The City of Calgary are proud to announce the first Urban Community Garden in Calgary.

Two flower planters measuring 952 square feet on Barclay Parade were transformed into a community garden over the May long weekend. The fresh harvested herbs and vegetables will be donated to the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank. The gardens are planted and maintained completely by volunteers.

This project is designed to add vitality to the core, engage and give back to the community in a new and innovative way.

Please join us as we launch this great downtown initiative on National Hunger Awareness Day. Representatives from Downtown Calgary, the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank and the Calgary Food Policy Council will be available for interviews.

What: Urban Community Garden Pilot Project Launch

When: Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Where: West side Barclay Parade (3 Street SW)
between 5 Avenue and 6 Avenue

Friday, May 29, 2009

Organic Dairies Watch the Good Times Turn Bad

Read more!
Organic Dairies Watch the Good Times Turn Bad

When Ken Preston went organic on his dairy farm here in 2005, he figured that doing so would guarantee him what had long been elusive: a stable, high price for the milk from his cows.

Sure enough, his income soared 20 percent, and he could finally afford a Chevy Silverado pickup to help out. The dairy conglomerate that distributed his milk wanted everything Mr. Preston could supply. Supermarket orders were skyrocketing.

But soon the price of organic feed shot up. Then the recession hit, and families looking to save on groceries found organic milk easy to do without. Ultimately the conglomerate, with a glut of product, said it would not renew his contract next month, leaving him with nowhere to sell his milk, a victim of trends that are crippling many organic dairy farmers from coast to coast.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Next CFPC Meeting... 09June09, Tuesday @ 1900 @ The Living Room, 514 - 17 Ave SW

Read more! Next CFPC Meeting... 09June09, Tuesday @ 1900 @ The Living Room, 514 - 17 Ave SW
featuring Plan It Calgary & how it addresses Urban Ag issues.

Agenda items can be submitted to

Calgary RiverFest & NYC Times Square goes Car Free

Read more! Pedestrians enjoy first day of car-free stretches of Broadway at Times Square, Herald Square
NYC Times Square goes Car Free

Saturday, May 23, 2009

DE:Lawning, Planting Party, Urban Chickens & next CFPC meeting...

Read more! Killarney DE:Lawning No Dig/Live Mulch Project

1. Planting the seeds of change! Everyone welcome to drop by the Calgary downtown urban ag pilot garden planting on Sunday, 24May09 on Barkley Mall 6 ave & 3 st @ 2pm - 4pm
CFPC sponsored... A new 2011 x 2011 Garden!

Calgary Food Policy Facebook Group....

2. Backyard Coops Make Chicks Chic

3. Next CFPC meeting... The Living Room, 514 - 17 Ave SW on 09June09 @ 1900

More Gardens!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Next meeting of the Calgary Food Policy Council: 12May09 @ 7pm

Read more! Next meeting of the Calgary Food Policy Council: 12May09 @ 7pm

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Next meeting of the Calgary Food Policy Council: Knox United 14April09 @ 7pm

Read more! Next meeting of the Calgary Food Policy Council: Knox United 14April09 @ 7pm

“In my role as chairman, I’ve emphasized the importance of the growing markets for organic, locally grown and sustainable agriculture as exciting new opportunities in agriculture,” Peterson said.

“Local food can provide opportunities for profit for farmers and other rural entrepreneurs and main street businesses who want to participate in processing and distributing food,” Peterson said. “This is an opportunity to learn how your community can use USDA programs as engines for economic development that will benefit farmers, rural communities, development organizations, businesses, and individuals.”

Sunday, March 1, 2009

2011 New Growing Spaces Nomination & Next CFPC Meeting

Read more! 2011 New Growing Spaces Nominations
Nominate a space here...

Next CFPC Open Meeting...
March 10 at 7 p.m. at O Restaurant (2018 33rd Ave. S.W.). Everyone is welcome.

CFPC Wordle