On May 28th, a savvy Mayor used high noon at the Strathcona Farmers’ Market to launch the City of Edmonton’s Food and Agriculture Policy Project. Flowing from The Way We Grow Municipal Development Plan, the Project will identify potential for urban agriculture on public and private land and produce guidelines for agricultural activities. Public consultations will be followed by a report to council in 2012.
The Mayor claims that the outcomes of this process are unknown. Yet his speech suggested financial incentives to conserve farmland, profits from home gardening, and respect for private property rights. A private consultant followed with a presentation on multiple bottom line theory. This affair will sound familiar to anyone following Alberta’s Land Use Framework. Indeed, cities face the same issues, including competing land uses, landscape fragmentation, cumulative impacts, and contaminated land. And, like the Land Use Framework, Edmonton’s Food and Agriculture policy follows a growth mandate that could favor financial incentives for property owners over protecting public land or prohibiting unsustainable development.
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