The contribution of urban agriculture to cities in times of crisis: the case of Montreal (Quebec, Canada)

We know that urban agriculture, in the form of community, collective and home gardens, plays an important role during times of crisis. As with the explosion of victory gardens during the Second World War, gardening has always increased with each economic crises, from the Great Depression to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Special Period in Cuba to the 2008 financial crisis. In general, gardens should be considered a source of food for urban populations.

According to various surveys conducted over several years, between 35 and 50% of the population of Quebec (Canada) practices urban agriculture, particularly at home. But what does this mean in terms of food for families and for cities? This question is one of many examined by the Urban Agriculture Lab in Montréal, an extensive research program underway since 2007 and affiliated with the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). In a short note we present data for the city of Montréal.

According to a conservative estimate presented below, urban agriculture in Montreal supplies the fresh vegetable needs during summer months for at least 100,000 people, or about 5% of the Montreal population. Using a different model, it could be a significant food source for 250,000 people, or more than 12% of the Montréal population. Furthermore, the value of the fresh fruits and vegetables produced by urban agriculture initiatives in Montreal is estimated to be between $25 and $50 million.

These estimates are based on existing urban agriculture efforts, not on estimates of the potential contribution of community, collective, or domestic garden programs. Our garden mapping work nevertheless shows that there is still great potential for the development of urban agriculture in Montréal, as well as in other North American cities.

Our results clearly demonstrate the underestimated place of urban agriculture in urban food security.

More detailed results are presented here, in French, but table captions are translated : https://agriurbain.hypotheses.org/4739

Reference for this note

Duchemin, E et N. McClintock, 2020, L’apport alimentaire de l’agriculture urbaine sociale aux villes, en temps de crise : le cas de Montréal, Carnet de Recherche AULAB, AgriUrbain : [En ligne] URL : https://agriurbain.hypotheses.org/4739

Acknowledgement

The project Évaluation de l’agriculture urbaine comme infrastructure verte de résilience individuelle et collective face aux changements climatiques et sociaux is funded by

Eric Duchemin

Directeur scientifique et formation du Laboratoire sur l'agriculture urbaine (AULAB)

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Eric Duchemin

Directeur scientifique et formation du Laboratoire sur l'agriculture urbaine (AULAB)

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