The City of Victoria is known internationally for its gardens, but the majority of the province’s produce is not grown locally.
The city does, however, support urban farming and is working with local organizations to establish and enhance its local, urban food systems.
The city is promoting “growing in the city” through a variety of means. Gardens are cropping up along the boulevards of the City of Victoria while local nonprofits are encouraged to begin community allotment gardens, commons gardens, and orchards.
“At a time when climate change is growing more difficult to ignore and fossil fuels are growing more difficult to mine, tending so much grass grows more difficult to justify. People run lawn mowers and weed whackers and leaf blowers up and down the boulevards, burning fuel, belching CO2, wasting time,” Mike Large, owner of website Sweet Greens and boulevard gardener in Haultain Commons, to Eat Magazine. “Boulevards offer us public space to grow local food, diverse ways to improve degraded landscapes, and pleasant paths to build stronger communities.”
City bylaws are being reviewed for changes that better support small-scale urban food production. For example, by allowing urban food production in all land use zones; making rooftop greenhouses and gardens exempt from height and floor space ratio calculations; and making urban food production exempt from needing development permits for landscaping.
The city is also providing a “strategic plan grant” for the funding of the Compost Education Centre in Fernwood; city micro-grants for supplies needed for food production in community gardens; and city grants for neighborhoods where food production is the primary focus. The city has also partnered with the Fernwood Community Center to turn 1800 square feet of decorative gardens into edible food gardens in order to supplement the 700 meals and snacks the centre provides to the community weekly. Read more