Edmonton Farmers Need YOUR Help

KevinFrom Local Farms9 Comments

I didn’t produce this one. Some farmers in NE area of our city whose agricultural soil is destined for concrete have come together on this project to outright ask for your support. They need it. Please get over to their website to ‘become a friend‘. Their short term objective is to ensure “that the Northeast Agricultural Land not be planned and rezoned until after the city completes the City Wide Food and Agricultural Strategy”. If the city wants to be progressive around urban agriculture and are about to roll out a major initiative on that front, it would seem utterly ridiculous to okay the paving over of some of our city’s best farmland just beforehand. But that’s the plan. Weigh in.

9 Comments on “Edmonton Farmers Need YOUR Help”

  1. Greg

    This has been going on for some time. I was at a couple of meetings-cum-rallies at City Hall a few years ago about this very issue. The demands haven’t changed, so presumably neither has the threat. It’s a partial grace that the Council cogs turn slowly, but inexorably? Good luck, Edmonton farmers new and seasoned, in-city and peripheral.

  2. Bob Smith

    So a develop wants to develop land that he owns…well it is his land. As far as your farms go, as long as you own your farms, why would you make it sound like you are going to lose them. If I’m missing something (and I suspect I am) please enlighten me


  3. Judy Z.

    I’m with Bob. I can’t figure out how if the farmers own their land the developer can build on their land. I know the city can annex land but as far as I know developers can’t do that. If the developer builds on his land won’t that just give these farmers more customers in close proximity. I do agree that it is a shame to build on good farm land but perhaps those who buy those properties will be urban homesteaders.

  4. Anna

    Thank you for posting, Kevin. It’s a beautiful video.

    Dear Bob and Judy: If the developer (actually, land speculator is a more appropriate name in this case) have bought out landowners many years ago waiting to flip the property to the highest bidder, and that same land is also classified as having the most fertile soil (Class 1 & 2) and a very unique microclimate which provides favourable growing conditions (longest frost-free days), I hope you see the need for restricting the use of this land to a Permanent Agriculture Zone (which is what NEAP is proposing). Edmonton could be much more food sovereign and much less dependant on imported produce from California’s industrial farms if we keep our fertile peri-urban soils for responsible agriculture.

    Edmonton City Council is currently waiting for the draft of a City-Wide Food & Ag Strategy, an Area Structure Plan for the Northeast land, as well as the terms of reference for a new Food Policy Council (http://edmonton.ca/foodandag). This gives me hope that our city and region are working towards more responsible food practices. Gotta keep ’em honest, though, cause land speculators and developers are powerful, quick and sneaky.

  5. Kevin

    One thing I’m reminded of often in this debate as an outsider looking in: the farmers will get paid very well for their land. In my mind money’s not the issue from the farmers’ perspective – and it’s a rare thing nowadays to hear folks making noise when money’s not the issue. The issue is around people, soil, and food.

    My current understanding is this: the developers have zoned the surrounding areas as ‘industrial’. It’s more expensive to annex industrial land than agricultural land. So when maps are drawn, the roads go through the farms not interested in selling, not their industrially zoned lands. I will fully admit that this issue is far more complex than that, and that I’m not totally up to speed on it. But I think it boils back down to one issue: do we pave over our most fertile local soil, yes or no.

  6. Kristine Kowalchuk

    I agree this is a crucial issue for Edmonton. Class A farmland should remain farmland. And since we need more local agriculture for our health, community, and food security, and we simply DON’T need more suburbs, this should be obvious. Where does one go to support the farmers? Is there a link (that I’m just not seeing)?

  7. Kevin

    Kristine – the bolded ‘become a friend’ links to the site that produced this video. That’s a start, and might better connect you to the farmers involved.

  8. Paul

    To Bob and Judy: The fact that this land is also not zoned as a permanent agricultural area puts this land at risk even if farmers still own it. Changes in ownership are inevitable in the long term and new landowners will have to abide to new zoning changes despite pre-existing land-use. The construction of new roads and communities nearby will also drive up land prices due to speculation if there is no permanent agricultural zoning and may lead to some farmers selling out.

    This move could definitely benefit the city in terms of redirecting its urban growth inwards (which is much needed) and ensuring the protection of its most fertile soils.

  9. Pingback: Only Here for the Food » Blog Archive » Food Notes for December 12, 2011

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