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Urban agriculture: A pillar for sustainable cities


Urban agriculture around the world is estimated to fulfill 15% of total food needs
Since the Montreal Community Gardening Program began in 1975, the number of small (3x6 metre) plots has grown to approximately 8,200 in 97 community garden locations spread across the city (see link below). The community garden program is hailed as a successful initiative, offering Montrealers an economical way to both produce food crops in close proximity to their homes, and to create an interesting space of engagement and exchange with neighbours. While the growing number of gardens may sound impressive, the demand for them is even greater: the wait for city folk wanting to get their hands into the dirt is now approximately 3 years long, and growing.

Urban agriculture in Montreal has definitely hit its stride as university, community organization, and independent initiatives pop up all across the city. Due to the grassroots nature of the movement, the exact numbers are hard to confirm; Eric Duchemin, director of CRAPAUD (Collectif de recherche en aménagement paysager et agriculture urbaine durable) estimates that more than 250,000 m2 of city land is currently in use for agricultural projects, producing approximately $1.25 million dollars in fruits and vegetables per year on the island of Montreal alone.

Agriculture urbaine Montréal's resource page hosts urban argiculture tips and an interactive map that plots existing urban gardens of all genres and allows users to list their own urban agriculture initiatives.

Impressive as the recent groundswell of urban agriculture initiatives in Montreal might appear, we are still “une petite pousse” compared to worldwide trends.

According to Vertigo, the electronic magazine focused on science and environmental research, over the past decade, 800 million people worldwide have engaged in urban agriculture. "Approximately 200 million of them produce for a local, commercial market, and 150 million of them farm on a full-time basis. These farmers produce nearly 15% of our food. According to some predictions, these statistics could double in the next generation."

 

To find one of the 97 community gardens near you, visit: 
http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal/page?_pageid=5798,68853571&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

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mfirl2014 (Monika Firl)
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