Why grow food in the city?

Mobile fruit stand outside Biodome, Montreal tourist attraction.Economic benefits

  • Creates business opportunities  
  • Generates income  
  • Develops job-related skills 
  • Reduces household food costs
  • Increased vegetable consumption improves health of growers and their families, leading to reduced demand on provincial health care budgets

Perth-Dupont Community Garden - Edward speaks eloquently about how the garden helped him recover from a stroke.

Health benefits

  • People who grow their own food are more aware of where their food comes from and are more likely to eat fresh vegetables.
  • Provides physical activity for all ages and abilities
  • Increases access to healthy food
  • Gardening is a proven stress reliever and enhances self-esteem

Rye's Homegrown RooftopBeans with a story, donated to seed exchange in ParkdaleEnvironmental benefits

  • Creates more urban green space, which cools the city and reduces air pollution
  • Rainwater is filtered through gardens, helping to keep lakes, rivers and groundwater clean and reducing the impact of storm water runoff
  • Contributes to biodiversity by creating habitat for pollinators and birds
  • Sustainable growing methods like composting divert waste, reduce methane gas released from landfill sites and trap carbon in the soil 
  • Growing food is a good way to engage people who might not get involved in environmental issues. More people involved = greater impact!
  • See more about climate change here

Gardens promote hanging over the fence, talking...Community benefits

  • Brings people of different backgrounds and experiences together
  • Increases neighbourhood safety, reduces crime
  • Reduces social isolation and increased sense of belonging
  • Gives people an opportunity to give back to their community
  • Encourages life-long and intergenerational learning
  • Allows people from other countries to grow traditional foods and share their knowledge
  • Teaches people community organizing skills that they can use in other contexts
  • Uses under-utilized land and rooftops
  • Provides opportunities for youth to develop skills and demonstrate leadership
  • Creates vibrant public spaces that everyone can enjoy (not just gardeners!)

Adapted from: GrowTO: An Urban Action Plan for Toronto and the HSC Community Garden 
Page updated on 2018-11-08 09:25:01