Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Most Significant Obstacles to a Robust Local Food System in Calgary

#yyc #yyccc #food #urbanag #LFS #LocalFoodSystem #FoodAccess

I remember a meeting with Chima Nkemdirim @chimaincalgary (Mayor Nenshi's @Nenshi Chief of Staff) in late 2010. He asked me what my business model was for growing food & #Urbanag. I asked what his & the city's business model was for growing grass (Kentucky Blue Grass). 

There are 10's of 1000's of local food production economic development opportunities (all sustainable, healthy, nutritious, align with policy: Triple Bottomline, Sustainability 2020, Onward, imagineCALGARY, Food Assessment Action Plan, et al). There are very few for growing grass other than golf/turf management (Almost none that are sustainable, as most require, or are addicted to, massive doses of chemical fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides & significant maintenance resources to the tune of 1,000,000 person hours/annually in #YYC).

The Calgary Food Committee has been around for over 2 years & has, like so many #YYCCC committees, devolved into a back slapping networking opportunity. There is literally nothing that has changed in the #YYC #UrbanAg Local Food System landscape in these 2 years. There is still no #UrbanAg Zoning. There are no new #UrbanAg programs. No comprehensive, ranking, weighted, land inventory to access for aspiring urban farmers (We do however have some 111,000 acres of unused, empty land in #YYC). We continue to exist in a simple proteins only local food environment. Of course, all of this has been suggested to individuals at the highest municipal level, in council committees & to individual elected and non elected officials throughout municipal government since 2008.