Food and Farm Innovation

In September 2009, Sustain Ontario, under the directorship of Lauren Baker, engaged a group of graduate planning students from Ryerson University (from here forth collectively known as the “Farm Studio”) in exploring how land use planning approaches in the Greater Golden Horseshoe of Ontario affects on-farm food and agricultural innovation. As a goal, Sustain Ontario is working towards a sustainable food system, one that is ecological, equitable and financially viable. Recognizing the multiple foci of sustainable food and agricultural issues, this project aims to fill a gap in the planning knowledge surrounding these concerns.

Throughout the subsequent three months, the Farm Studio was tasked to develop a broad understanding of the important planning, policy and broader economic, environmental and social implications of agricultural practice. In order to fully understand these various issues, and how their influences are played out, the project was grounded in four peri urban municipalities within the Greater Golden Horseshoe: the County of Simcoe and the Regions of Waterloo, Halton, and Niagara. Using them as case study areas, investigation into regional policy and agricultural context analyzed the land use planning opportunities and barriers to food and farm innovation at the regional level.

Ultimately, the Farm Studio, through a rationalization of the implications for more integrated, adaptive and flexible approaches to agricultural land use planning, developed an approach through which the following group of students in Ryerson University’s graduate program in planning will be able to proceed in order to recommend how land use planning policy may become more adaptive, integrated and flexible with regard to agricultural and food policy at the regional or municipal level.

The final report can be viewed here: Food + Farm Innovation Study.

For more studio projects conducted for Sustain Ontario, click here.

Students: Heather Britten, Amanda Chen, Josh Hilburt, Sharan Kaur, Jessica Krecklo, Nick Weigeldt