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Vancouver’s 5,000 neighbourhood food initiatives add to a growing local food system

July 19 2018

“It’s a big community victory to achieve our food asset target two years earlier than expected.” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Man in urban garden reaching down to harvest salad greens in Vancouver.

Today, Mayor Gregor Robertson, the Park Board, and Little Mountain Neighbourhood House Society announced that we have exceeded our local food target with the creation of more than 5,000 food projects, two years earlier than expected.

Neighbourhood initiatives

Some of these neighbourhood initiatives include:

  • Community gardens
  • Kitchens
  • Composting facilities
  • Farmers markets
  • Community food markets
  • Community orchards
  • Urban farms

Our goal

This goal, part of the Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP) developed in 2011, brings more healthy and sustainably produced food to Vancouverites.

“It’s a big community victory to achieve our food asset target two  years earlier than expected.” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Boosting community access to local, sustainable, and healthy food is a big priority in our Greenest City and Healthy City strategies. The local food movement is booming—it’s never been more popular for residents to grow their own food, buy local, and support local food programs.”

The Vancouver Park Board has also been instrumental in helping grow the city’s local food system in recent years through its Local Food Action Plan (LFAP), which the Board adopted in 2013. The LFAP has since led to a broad range of local food and urban agriculture projects at parks and community centres across the city.

“We are pleased to see the local food movement flourish in recent years through the Park Board’s commitment to new or expanded community gardens, pollinator gardens, farmers markets, food gardens at our golf courses and expanded access to community kitchens and food programming at our community centres,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

Our plans

The Park Board’s Local Food Action Plan will undergo a review and update in spring 2019 to incorporate new directions such as equity and reconciliation. The Park Board’s draft 2019–2022 Capital Plan includes a proposed $400,000 for community gardens and other local food projects.

GCAP, now in its seventh year, guides the City’s actions in achieving zero carbon emissions, zero waste, and healthy ecosystems. It is complemented by the Vancouver Food Strategy, which works to support just and sustainable food systems that encompass everything from seed to table to compost heap and back again. Both strategies aim to advance Vancouver’s goal to become a global leader in creating a healthy and resilient local food system.

Neighbourhood Food Network

The Little Mountain Riley Park Neighbourhood Food Network (NFN) manages the Riley Park Community Garden where today’s event was held and is a grassroots network collaborating on food initiatives that ensure access to healthy, culturally appropriate, and sustainably produced food for all community members.

Little Mountain Riley Park NFN is one of 13 Neighbourhood Food Networks committed to promoting food security across the City of Vancouver by supporting food equity and access, education, skill building and advocacy, particularly for community members who are struggling economically.  

Greenest City Action Plan

An update on the GCAP report will be presented to council on July 25 and includes an overview on what Vancouver has achieved across the 10 goal areas, as well as lessons learned.

Since GCAP began, we have increased our commitments to climate action by reducing carbon pollution in the transportation, building and waste sectors, while increasing resiliency and preparing for a 100% renewable energy future.

Since 2007, GCAP has seen the following successes:

  • 53% increase in neighbourhood food initiatives since 2010
  • 20% decrease in ecological footprint since 2006
  • 9% of businesses in Vancouver are engaged in greening their operations
  • 36% decrease distance driven per person since 2007
  • 43% decrease in carbon pollution intensity from new buildings since 2007
  • 106,000 new trees planted since 2010

View the Greenest City Action Plan