Local Food & Urban Agriculture Study

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Announcements 

A draft of the City’s Local Food and Urban Agriculture Study (LFUAS) is now available for public review. Click on the links below to view the documents that make up the study. Comments can be sent to localfood@whitehorse.ca until Monday, September 21, 2020.

Overview

In summer 2016, the City embarked on developing the LFUAS to take a dedicated look at the organization’s municipal tools (e.g. plans, policies, bylaws, grants, facilities, leases, services, and products) and identify ways these can be enhanced and aligned to support a more robust local food system. After 4 years of research, review, and engagement, the study is now ready for public comment.

The LFUAS' Potential Actions document provides a 10-year work plan that identifies 8 goals and 66 potential actions that the City can lead, or support other organizations and residents to implement. Ideas range in size and complexity from exploring tweaks to existing City policies and regulations, to assessing new locations for agricultural land uses.

The study is structured around the following 7 local food system components:

  • Production
  • Wild Harvesting
  • Processing and Preservation
  • Distribution and Retailing
  • Nutrition Support
  • Consumption
  • Resource Recovery

The LFUAS is one of several studies that is helping to inform the Whitehorse 2040 review process for updating the 2010 Official Community Plan.

Financial support has been provided by the Canada-Yukon Growing Forward 2 Fund and the Canadian Agriculture Partnership

Engagement 

Engagement for the LFUAS has included interviews with staff at governments, associations, businesses, and individuals working on food and agriculture topics. The public was invited to participate in 2 public online surveys and 3 focus group sessions:   

  • Public Survey #1 closed on September 2, 2016. The survey asked residents about how they participate in the local food system, challenges they have encountered with policies and regulations, and interests for future food pursuits. A total of 159 people responded.  
  • Public Survey #2 closed on May 15, 2017. Questions covered a mix of topics including local food access and consumption, definitions for 'local food', community gardens, and City compost. A total of 296 people responded.  
  • Sessions 1 and 2: two sessions were held in the fall of 2017. The first was to meet with hen owners to review and discuss current hen and coop regulations, and explore potential bylaw revisions. The second session was to meet with beekeepers to review existing regulations and discuss potential new allowances.
  • Session 3: A third session was held in the fall of 2019 in collaboration with the Commercial & Industrial Land Study to discuss the specific industry needs of the indoor agriculture and processing sectors.   

Why Support Local Food and Urban Agriculture? 

The benefits of supporting local food and urban agriculture are numerous, and extend beyond just increasing food supply, for the ways they can:

  • Be good for the economy by creating employment in the 'green' sector, providing job diversity, and keeping food revenues within our city. 
  • Be good for the environment by reducing the distance that food travels from source to table.  
  • Connect residents to their food system by providing visible and accessible opportunities for demonstration, learning, and employment. 
  • Encourage accountability by connecting consumers to nearby producers, allowing residents to ask questions and learn about the inputs and methods used to produce food. 
  • Provide opportunities for social cohesion and inclusion by bringing people together in gardens, markets, and kitchens to grow and enjoy food, while building skills and relationships.  
  • Provide connection to land, nature, and culture by promoting outdoor activity that involves growing food and harvesting wild foods and medicines in wilderness areas. 
  • Increase self-sufficiency by building local capacity for production and reducing reliance on imported foods.

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