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Food System Assessment and Action Plan

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Calgary Food Action Plan

Food System Assessment and Action Plan


The City of Calgary Food Action Plan – Calgary Eats! builds on community-led efforts to create a healthy, equal and sustainable food system. Its goal is for every Calgarian to have access to local, healthy and environmentally friendly food.

Principles

Local: Products made, baked, grown, processed and sold in Alberta are supported and balanced in the context of national and international markets.

Accessible: All people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and preferences for a healthy lifestyle.

Secure supply: There is a consistent supply of sufficient, safe and nutritious food available that is not vulnerable to fluctuations such as high fuel prices and natural disasters.

Environmentally sustainable: Calgary’s food system ensures the protection of air, land and water, critical for achieving healthy ecosystems by minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, potable water use and waste, and maximizes efficient use of land, air quality and biodiversity.

Healthy: Food and beverages listed in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide are prepared and served in a way that supports national and provincial recommendations for sugar, sodium and fat.

Community Development: The food system supports community development and economic opportunities in the community on a sustainable and inclusive basis.

Priorities

  • Removing regulatory barriers and creating more opportunities to build a sustainable and resilient food system through planning and land use.
  • Supporting and promoting the growth of local food through community gardens and urban agriculture initiatives.
  • Supporting increased accessibility to healthy food for all Calgarians.
  • Preventing food waste through education programs.
  • Supporting community food programs.
  • Research and community partnerships.

Current projects

Promoting Calgary’s local food strategy through Land Use Bylaw amendments

Urban Commercial Agriculture Pilot Project

The City of Calgary is working with not-for-profit community partners to transform a city-owned vacant parcel of land into an urban farm. The urban farm which will be located at 1920 Highfield Crescent, SE and will produce fresh, healthy food in the community while providing significant community benefit. The project and partnership will help The City of Calgary to better support emerging models of urban food production and to provide the public with information resources to help them get started on urban agriculture projects.

Contact:
Kristi Peters Snider
Sustainability Consultant, CalgaryEATS! Food Action Plan
Kristi.PetersSnider@Calgary.ca

Transit Pop-up Food Markets

The City of Calgary is working to make fresh healthy food available to more Calgarians by testing out Fresh Food Markets along the primary transit network, improving the commuter experience and encouraging healthy food choices.

Community Food Growing

Residential gardens

Household food production can range from growing herbs and small vegetables inside the house, to planting fruit and vegetables in the ground or in raised beds in front and back yards. Food production in your home can include vertical gardens, balcony gardens, rooftop gardens and greenhouses. A wealth of fresh vegetables can be grown in even the smallest garden plot or containers. The benefits of growing your own herbs and vegetables include:

  • Healthy fresh produce for you and your family
  • Reducing the environmental impact of food transport and storage
  • Connecting you to the natural ecological cycle of weather, growth and renewal


For more information on residential gardens, visit:

Boulevard gardens

Boulevards are generally located between property lines, are City owned and are commonly grass. Although boulevards are owned by The City, it is the homeowner's responsibility to maintain the boulevard next to their property. Since most boulevards are grass, there is the potential of a gardening and growing opportunity in this space for homeowners. In some cases, permission from The City is required. Information about establishing a garden in the boulevard next to your property, and options for gardening and growing in the boulevard are provided in the Residential Boulevard Garden Guidelines​. Please review the Residential Boulevard Garden Guidelines​ before you start your boulevard garden project.

Commercial Food Growing

What you need to know about the new ‘Food Production’ use in the Land Use Bylaw

A new “food production” use was approved by City Council and will accommodate indoor food production in the Industrial and Commercial districts. Indoor Food Production includes hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics, and aquaculture in buildings, structures, and modular freight containers.

Your existing indoor food production business may now require permits and approvals. Find out what you need here.

Starting a new indoor food production business?

Before making a long-term commitment to a space for your business, it is important to know if The City will be able to approve you to operate at your desired location. All businesses require land use approval. A permit issued by the City to operate a business is required. Businesses that require a licence need to obtain land use approval prior to a licence being issued.

Find out what you need to get started in the Indoor Food Production Business Guide.

Hydroponics

 

Hydroponics is the cultivation of plants in a solution of nutrient-rich water rather than soil.

Development Permit: Hydroponics is included under the new food production use. Food production is permitted in most Industrial Districts and a discretionary use in all Commercial districts. A change of use may be required depending on your business location. Please contact the Planning Services Centre for more information: 403-268-5311

Building Permit: Building Permit is required for new structures and may be required for existing structures. Information on the Alberta Building Code for commercial building permits can be found here.

Business License: Food Service- Premises business license

Food Handling Permit (Alberta Health Services): If you are packaging your product you will require a Food Handling Permit.

Alberta Health Services Resources:

Aquaponics

Aquaponics refers to any system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals in tanks/aquaria) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.

Development Permit: Hydroponics is included under the new food production use. Food production is permitted in most Industrial Districts and a discretionary use in all Commercial districts. Aquaculture can occur only in the Industrial - General and Industrial Heavy districts, districts not be located adjacent to residential land use districts. A change of use may be required depending on your business location. Please contact the Planning Services Centre for more information: 403-268-5311.

Building Permit: A Building Permit is required for new structures and may be required for existing structures. Information on the Alberta Building Code for commercial building permits can be found here.

Business License: Food Service- Premises business license

Food Handling Permit (Alberta Health Services): If you are packaging your product you will require a Food Handling Permit.

Provincial Regulations:
The production and marketing of fresh-water fish in Alberta must comply with both federal and provincial regulations. These regulations are designed to protect native species of fish, provincial fish hatcheries and public water bodies. Only certain species of fish are eligible for fish farming activities.

A Fish Culture License is not required to grow fish for your own personal use however a Fish Culture License is required to acquire, grow, breed, keep and sell live cultured fish. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry will conduct a facility inspection prior to licensing.

More Information:

Importing Fish:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Import Permits are required to bring certain species of fish into Canada. For information and applications please visit the Import Permits and Conditions section of the CFIA - Aquatic Animal Health website.

Alberta Health Services Resources:

Aquaculture

Aquaculture is the rearing of aquatic animals or the cultivation of aquatic plants in natural or controlled marine or freshwater environments.

Development Permit: Aquaculture can occur only in the Industrial - General and Industrial Heavy districts. A change of use may be required depending on your business location. Please contact the Planning Services Centre for more information: 403-268-5311

Building Permit: A Building Permit is required for new structures and may be required for existing structures. Information on the Alberta Building Code for commercial building permits can be found here.

Business License: Food Service- Premises business license

Food Handling Permit (Alberta Health Services): If you are packaging your product you will require a Food Handling Permit.

Provincial Regulations:

The production and marketing of fresh-water fish in Alberta must comply with both federal and provincial regulations. These regulations are designed to protect native species of fish, provincial fish hatcheries and public water bodies. Only certain species of fish are eligible for fish farming activities.

A Fish Culture License is not required to grow fish for your own personal use however a Fish Culture License is required to acquire, grow, breed, keep and sell live cultured fish. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry will conduct a facility inspection prior to licensing.

More Information:

Importing Fish:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Import Permits are required to bring certain species of fish into Canada. For information and applications please visit the Import Permits and Conditions section of the CFIA - Aquatic Animal Health website.

Alberta Health Services Resources:

Aeroponics

 

Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium.

Development Permit: Aeroponics is included under the new food production use. Food production is permitted in most Industrial Districts and a discretionary use in all Commercial districts. A change of use may be required depending on your business location. Please contact the Planning Services Centre for more information: 403-268-5311.

Building Permit: A Building Permit is required for new structures and may be required for existing structures. Information on the Alberta Building Code for commercial building permits can be found here.

Business License: Food Service- Premises business license

Food Handling Permit (Alberta Health Services): If you are packaging your product you will require a Food Handling Permit.

Alberta Health Services Resources:

Modular Freight Farms & Converted Sea-Can Farms

Finding a location for your modular farm:

Please note that permits are required for modular farms placed in parking lots, side yards, rooftops or inside existing warehouses.

 The Alberta Building Code considers shipping containers buildings. Regardless of whether your unit is pre-manufactured or if you converted it yourself, it must meet the requirements of the Alberta Building Code, standalone pre-manufactured units need to be constructed in a factory certified to CSA A277 or CSA A660 or a combination of both, and a Building Permit is required.

Units placed inside a warehouse will require an interior partitioning type Building Permit. Additional information on the building permit application process can be found on calgary.ca.

Business License: Food Service- Premises business license

Alberta Health Services Resources:

Local Food

Farmers’ markets

Shopping at local farmers’ markets is a great way to support local food. Visit the Alberta Farmers’ Market Association to find a market in your area.

Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) connects local growers with consumers through a share program. Consumers provide financial support through the purchasing a share through a local grower. In exchange, they receive a weekly box of locally-grown produce. The box contents vary depending on weather and harvest. By becoming a member of a farm, shareholders allow the farmer more financial security by assuming some of the growing risk with the farmer.

Need food?

For information on where to find emergency food, lower cost food, cooking programs and other community food programs, visit Inform Alberta.

Contact

Building relationships between local farmers, processors, residents, community leaders, and other food system representatives is key in facilitating the resolution of food system issues and our success.

For questions or input, email sustainability@calgary.ca