Local food security initiatives: systemic limitations in Vancouver, Canada

Alfred Wong, Alan Hallsworth


This paper approaches the topic of urban/community gardening not through the lens of urban theory per se but in light of basic farming realities such as growing season and land availability. Food security comprises availability and affordability. In the context of North American and Western European societies, only food affordability normally merits public discourse. In practice, governments have little or no means to change food affordability, in view of prevailing capitalistic free-market structures. In the current wave of popular exuberance, civic politicians and others have promoted the belief that community gardening could be the pathway to produce affordable food. The formidable obstacles to this pursuit include the availability of (low-cost) land within the highly-densified city limit, insufficient ambient temperature and water supply during the growing season and the contemporary structure of society. Overcoming these fundamental hurdles carries significant negative environmental and economic consequences.

Key words: Cropping conditions, Economics, Food security, Land use, Urban gardening

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