Young Urban Farmers

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Young Urban Farmers helps people to experience the pleasure and rewards of growing fresh, nutritious veggies by setting up a backyard, balcony, or rooftop vegetable garden. Aspiring to spark a new revolution in sustainable urban living, YUF is committed to providing a sustainable food source that supplements your daily food intake. Enjoy a beautiful and bountiful harvest of the freshest, locally-grown organic produce, reduce your carbon footprint, and experience of the wonder of Mother Nature as you enjoy fresh-picked produce with your meals.

What do you think are the most pressing food and agriculture issues facing Ontario?

From my experiences, I think one of the most pressing issues facing Ontario is a strong reliance on food from outside the province (Ontario imports $4 billion more in food than it exports). This potential vulnerability can lead to a shortage of food should our trade routes become disrupted. Despite this trade deficit, Ontario has lots of excellent land for both urban and rural food production and there are many areas, especially in urban settings, where land can be better utilized for food production. Creating incentives, ideas, and opportunities and where individuals and enterprises can convert and/or repurpose existing land into productive food-growing areas can help reduce this trade deficit, foster a greater sense of community, educate people in the how important our food system is, and more importantly, and show in a tangible way how our food systems in Ontario has the potential to sustain one of our most basic needs without having to rely as heavily on imports.

What policies could best address these issues?

There has been a increasing demand for local food, and I believe this has created an environment where new initiatives (projects, businesses, NGOs) can be implemented/started to address this trade deficit. To improve the chances of success for these initiatives, new policies can be adopted and/or existing policies can be modified, such as streamlining the process for starting a community garden, providing opportunities to grow/raise/sell produce in the city (ex. raising chickens in Toronto), providing incubators for new businesses, and providing education and training support for people wanting to get involved in the local food movement.

What role do you see Sustain Ontario playing to address these issues?

I believe Sustain Ontario can help to address this issue by continuing its research and academic studies on the Ontario food system to identify the most pertinent opportunities that can be tackled in both the short and long term and then engage and connect relevant stakeholders in reaching a solution to the issues.