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2012 Urban Agriculture Summit


A thank-you to all who attended the inaugural Urban Agriculture Summit!

Continue to check the website for further Summit updates. Please send your Summit photos to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or post them on our Facebook page:   http://www.facebook.com/UrbanAgSummit . We would also like to extend a huge thank-you to Summit sponsors, partners and volunteers who helped make the 2012 Urban Agriculture Summit a reality and success.

Check out the GreenFuse image library of Summit snaps. Photos courtesy of the talented Laura Berman.  http://greenfusestock.photoshelter.com/gallery-collection/Urban-Agriculture-Summit/C000097VzGhVsZSg

Building Capacity for Action

Around the world people are growing food in cities! From August 15 to 18, the 2012 Urban Agriculture Summit will bring together a diversity of people that are making it happen - design professionals, community groups, social housing advocates, tenants and developers, educators, planners, homeowners, urban growers and others - to share what is working, and to discover what is possible.

4 urban gardeners showing off their work

From bee-keeping to community and school gardens; from aquaculture to rooftop farming, urban agriculture is becoming an essential element of food security, improving access to healthy, affordable food in a rapidly urbanizing world. Urban agriculture can also generate much-needed skills development and local employment while improving local environmental and community health.

The first Urban Agriculture Summit in Toronto is presented by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and FoodShare.  It will be action-oriented: attendees will learn new tools to advance urban agriculture in their own communities. Together participants will explore urban agriculture's current role and future potential in 21st century city-building.

Major Summit themes include:

  • Food Security, food sovereignty and city-building
  • Planning and design of innovative infrastructure for small & large-scale urban agriculture
  • New technologies and innovative practices associated with production
  • Scaling up urban agriculture: Supportive programs, policies and governance models
  • Best management practices in for-profit and not-for-profit food production
  • Building the business case: the economics, financing and marketing of urban agriculture
  • Embedding urban agriculture in community development and housing


Summit programming will include a lively combination of workshops, keynotes and panels, tours, design charrettes, and professional development opportunities. Sessions will draw on local and international expertise and practical experience, and will be designed to engage diverse communities and provide opportunities for cross-fertilization across sectors.


brooklyn-grangeWhy an Urban Agriculture Summit?

We are at a critical moment in North America and globally in terms of food insecurity, damaged environments for living and crippled economies on the one hand, and increasing momentum for alternative, sustainable means of food production and income generation, on the other hand. There is great potential for the production of food and more within urban areas that is not being realized.

foodshares Ian Bendale at School Garden in Toronto

Toronto is a prime example of leading innovative urban agriculture programs that contribute to food access as well as community and city building. However, as in many other urban centers, policy has lagged behind practice. And the practical work of urban growers is hindered by a lack of infrastructure and finance. The Summit aims to push forward the possibilities of urban agriculture.

FoodShare's Debbie Field explains why the Summit is so important to urban gardeners, policy makers and city residents alike!




Summit Objectives

The Summit seeks to:

  • Expand applied knowledge of urban agriculture by sharing in-depth information from those involved in urban agriculture locally and globally
  • Showcase new and innovative examples of urban agriculture projects, policies and programs, sharing in-depth experiences and lessons
  • Advance the urban agriculture movement locally and globally by building up the capacity of the people involved, including growers and community leaders/advocates, and connecting pertinent organizations
  • Explore urban agriculture's potential for communitu building and increasing food security in low income communities
  • Develop alliances between urban agriculture practitioners, community organizations and different sectors such as designers, planners, developers, builders, social housing agencies, educators
  • Provide a legacy from the Summit, such as strengthened political commitments, improved networks of actors, and new learning materials and modalities.


Target Audiences and Participants

The Summit will engage a wide range of audiences. These include:

  • Urban and peri-urban growers and farmers
  • Community leaders, workers and residents focusing on food security projects
  • Elementary and high school teachers, administrators and students interested in school gardens
  • Design professionals, including architects and landscape architects
  • Building owners, developers and managers
  • Social housing residents and advocates
  • Health care professionals interested in food and nutrition
  • Policy makers from all levels of government
  • Planning professionals
  • Chefs and restaurant representatives
  • Food retail, distribution, and sourcing professionals
  • Academics/researchers
  • University students


Main Components of the Program

A variety of approaches will be provided for sharing knowledge, building skills and strengthening capacity:

  • Professional and practical training on the organizing, financing, design, installation and sustainability of various types of urban agriculture projects, offered by project leaders or other experts
  • Organized tours to exceptional urban agricultural projects throughout the Greater Toronto Area
  • Plenary sessions and keynote speakers
  • Special workshops to provide advanced knowledge
  • Networking sessions
  • Hands-on projects to enable the application of skills in real-life settings
  • Opening reception and closing celebration



FoodShare and Ryerson University - well-known hubs for learning, growing and increasing access to good healthy food - will host the keynote and training sessions with talks, tours and activities happening throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Urban Agriculture Summit: Ryerson University - 55 Gould St. Toronto. August 15-18th, 2012.

The 2012 Urban Agriculture Summit is being organized by FoodShare, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, Housing Services Corporation, Ryerson University and the Toronto Food Policy Council.

Presented By:
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Summit Overview

Download Summit Overview

pdf file 2012UrbanAgSummit (842K)

pdf fileDetailed Agenda (draft)
(1230K download, 24 pages)


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