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Land Use Bylaw amendments: food growing, processing and distribution

Background

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 Action Plan 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.

Stakeholder Engagement

The first phase of engagement in 2016 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.

Amendments approved Fall 2017

In 2017 a first set of Land Use Bylaw Amendments were approved by Council. The approved amendments include new “food production” uses to accommodate indoor models of food production including hydroponic, aquaponic, aeroponic and aquaculture in the Industrial and Commercial districts; clarifying the definition of “Extensive Agriculture” to allow for small buildings and greenhouses; and a definition for “Intensive Agriculture”; and Brewery, Winery and Distillery is now a permitted use in the Industrial-General and Industrial-Redevelopment districts.

We are now working on a second phase of amendments to take to Council Spring 2019.

Proposed Land Use Bylaw Amendments - Phase 2

What we did

​Theme ​Phase of Engagement  ​What we heard ​What we did
Growing food ​1, 2 ​Stakeholders requested more opportunities to grow food for personal consumption through boulevard gardens, rooftop gardens and community gardens. Stakeholders were concerned about the ability of The City of Calgary to monitor, maintain, and uphold cleanliness to gardens on public or vacant parcels. Stakeholders were also concerned that additional opportunities to grow food may be too restrictive and require permits and approvals​ ​A new use called “Urban Agriculture”: An accessory or interim commercial use of growing food outside at grade or on a rooftop of a building.

  • Plants only, no animals
  • Can occur in a landscaped area on a developed parcel or on a vacant parcel
  • Raised beds, cold frames, hoop enclosures 1.5 metres or less in height allowed
  • Ancillary buildings allowed
  • “local food sales” are allowed
  • Temporary outside food storage allowed
  • No parking requirements

Discretionary use in:

  • Multi-residential Districts
  • Commercial Districts
  • Industrial Districts
  • Special Districts
  • Centre City Districts
  • East Village Districts
  • Commercial Residential Districts
  • Mixed-Use Districts

Exempt from a development permit when:

  • No change in existing drainage patterns
  • Required landscaping retained
  • No local food sales
  • A maximum of one ancillary building less than 10 square metres in area.
​Growing food ​1, 2 ​Stakeholders requested more opportunities to grow food for personal consumption through boulevard gardens, rooftop gardens and community gardens. Stakeholders were concerned about the ability of The City of Calgary to monitor, maintain, and uphold cleanliness to gardens on public or vacant parcels. Stakeholders were also concerned that additional opportunities to grow food may be too restrictive and require permits and approvals​.

A new definition:
“community garden” is defined as land or buildings used to grow food and ornamental plants for recreational, social, educational and community purposes, and includes sheds, compost bins and greenhouses, raised beds, and washrooms.

The purpose of defining “community garden” is to provide certainty and understanding of what they may include and to clarify that they are not a commercial activity.
Distributing food 1, 2

Stakeholders asked for more “pop up” food distribution opportunities, more food sharing opportunities and more farmers market opportunities.

Stakeholders were concerned about how this would be implemented.

A new definition: “local food sales” means the temporary sale of locally grown and made food that does not include permanent structures. The purpose of “local food sales” is to provide a distribution method for urban growers, who otherwise may be challenged to sell their products, and to promote the sale of affordable, local, healthy food in urban locations.

Can occur as part of Urban Agriculture when a discretionary development permit is obtained.

Allowed on City-owned land where approved by The City.
Distributing food 1,2 Stakeholders asked for more “pop up” food distribution opportunities, more community food sharing opportunities and more farmers market opportunities.

A new definition:
“community market” is defined as the sale of whole and locally made processed foods, as well as food for immediate consumption, as a community social activity.

Allowed in a Community Recreation Facility (aka Community Association Building)

Food Processing 2 Stakeholders support the encouragement of small scale production and sales.

Brewery, Winery and Distillery amendments propose an increased public area without the need for a development permit.

Timeline

March 2019: Report to the Standing Policy Committee on Planning & Urban Development

April 2019: Council

Links

Calgary Food System Assessment and Action Plan

Promoting Calgary’s local food system Open House

2017 September 11 Council Report

Contact

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

Laurie Kimber
Senior Planner, Planning & Development
laurie.kimber@calgary.ca
403-268-3585

Kristi Peters Snider
Sustainability Consultant, Sustainability Strategies
Kristi.PetersSnider@calgary.ca
403-268-3412

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