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Land Use Bylaw amendments: food growing, processing and distribution

In 2012, City Council endorsed Calgary’s food strategy known as the CalgaryEATS! Food System Assessment and Action Plan​. The vision of our city’s food strategy is to create a sustainable and resilient food system, so that every citizen has access to local, healthy and environmentally-friendly food.

The Land Use Bylaw amendment project proposes changes that support urban food production, processing and distribution, to increase food system resiliency and access to healthy and affordable food for all Calgarians.

Project objectives

  • Evaluate methods and opportunities for local food production in buildings in the industrial and commercial areas, and determine appropriate planning rules and definitions;
  • Evaluate opportunities for outdoor, small-scale food production in residential, commercial and industrial areas;
  • Ensure new food trends can be accommodated in the Land Use Bylaw, where appropriate;
  • Ensure food production, processing and distribution businesses are appropriately located and compatible with other uses;
  • Ensure that the rules clearly communicate the opportunities that are available to grow food in Calgary; and
  • Contribute to a sustainable and resilient food system for Calgary as expressed in the vision and principles of the CalgaryEATS! Food System Assessment and Action Plan.

Stakeholder engagement results

The first phase of engagement involved reaching out to stakeholders through an online survey, to better understand emerging trends and to determine barriers and opportunities for food production, processing and distribution.

Based on our research and the input we received from the community, we came up with 13 potential ways to increase food production, processing and distribution through our current bylaws. In November 2016, we held two open houses where we presented Promoting Calgary’s local food system: Land Use Bylaw amendments and asked for further feedback from the public. To see a summary of the feedback, view the What We Heard report.

Proposed amendments for summer 2017

  • Define a new food production use, to provide small and large businesses an opportunity to grow and distribute food, not only in the industrial areas, but also in commercial areas.​
  • Include opportunities for the emerging aquaponics and aquaculture businesses, in the new food production use.
  • List the new breweries, wineries and distilleries use as permitted in the Industrial – General District and Industrial – Redevelopment District, and as discretionary in the Industrial – Heavy District.
  • Allow breweries, wineries and distilleries to operate a Special Function – Class 2 business licence;
  • Clarify existing food growing opportunities in extensive agriculture and provide for some limited increased opportunities; and
  • Define intensive agriculture.


  • November 2016: Stakeholder engagement sessions took place.
  • December 2016 and January 2017: Amend land use bylaws, based on stakeholder feedback
  • June 29, 2017: Calgary Planning Commission
  • Sept. 11, 2017: City Council

Future opportunities

We are looking at how to accommodate urban agriculture in low density and multi-residential areas on private and City-owned land, including:
  • Allowing land owners to grow and sell food produced on their property (low density and multi-residential);
  • Allowing land owners to lease parts of their land to others to produce food (low density and multi-residential);
  • Enabling pop-up food sales on City-owned land and allowing small food growers to use City facilities, with the permission of The City or the community association;
  • Changing the rules in low density and multi-residential areas to eliminate the landscaping requirements in place of vegetable gardens and food growing areas;
  • Exempting roof top green houses from the multi-residential height rules;
  • Allowing homeowners to use their personal garage for food production.


Subscribe to receive email updates on this project, or reach out to our team directly:

Kristi Peters Snider
Sustainability Consultant, Office of Sustainability

Laurie Kimber
Senior Planner, Planning & Development