The city created more than 5,000 food projects, which include community gardens, kitchens, composting facilities, farmers markets, community orchards and urban farms as part of the Greenest City Action Plan developed in 2011.
Both strategies attempt to make Vancouver a global leader in creating a resilient food system.
“The local food movement is booming,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “It’s never been more popular for residents to grow their own food, buy local and support local food programs.”
Robertson said that he hopes the next council will continue the goals of each strategy.
But Vancouver’s growing movement of urban farmers have been calling for reductions in red-tape and access to affordable land for several years, according to previous StarMetro reports.
Robertson noted that there are many urban farming organizations and networks that are helping connect people to establish more farms.
“We are seeing an unprecedented amount of growth,” he explained. “Certainly if there are barriers and red tape slowing down that process, we will look into it.”
With land pressures so “intense”, protecting the Agricultural Land Reserve should also be a priority, he added.
The province has some of the best soil in the world, he explained.
Through the Local Food Action Plan adopted in 2013, the Vancouver Park Board helped initiate a range of urban agriculture projects at parks and community centres across the city, the release stated.
That plan will undergo a review and update in 2019 to incorporate “new directions,” such as equity and reconciliation, the release read. On Thursday evening, the Park Board will review a draft of the 2019-2022 Capital Plan which includes a proposed $400,000 for community gardens and other local food projects.
“The fruits of our labour are evident all over Vancouver,” said Park board chair Stuart Mackinnon, who thanked all of the “green thumbs” and a strong partnership with Little Mountain Riley Park Neighborhood Food Network.
The grassroots network is one of 13 neighborhood food networks committed to promoting food security by supporting equity and access, education, skill building and advocacy, particularly for community members who are struggling economically, the news release stated.
There is an incredible value to an integrated approach, which brings intergenerational and cultural initiatives in communities to access healthy food choices, said Roy Millen, the board president.
Education and raising food literacy is key, Millen added.
On July 25, a report will be presented to council on successes and lessons of the Greenest City Action Plan.
Melanie Green is a Vancouver-based reporter covering food culture and policy. Follow her on Twitter: @mdgmedia
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