With new funding sources coming on line and a surge of community interest in healthy and prosperous communities, comprehensive planning for food and agriculture systems enables coordinated approaches allowing stronger partnerships and effective implementation. Urban Food Strategies works with small and large communities and organizations to:

    • Conduct early visioning and goal setting,
    • Identify keystone projects and recommendations for implementation,
    • Develop customized and technically sound food and agriculture strategies,
    • Design and deliver quality stakeholder and community engagement process,
    • Undertake research and technical analysis,
    • Produce communications materials, and
    • Create high-quality and visually appealing deliverables.

Project Profiles


AgRefresh (2016-2017) | City of Abbotsford, BC

AgRefresh is a three-part initiative by the City of Abbotsford to review and update current agricultural bylaws, policies and regulations in response to new provincial legislation and changing agricultural market trends regarding agricultural land use. Urban Food Strategies is leading a team to 1) update the Official Community Plan with policies that better reflect agriculture’s important role in Abbotsford, 2) update the Zoning Bylaw to make local regulations around permitted uses on agricultural land clearer and in line with the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Land Commission bylaws, and 3) develop a Bylaw Compliance Strategy to ensure that the use of farmland in Abbotsford align with what the provincial Agricultural Land Commission and Ministry of Agriculture allow. Each project phase involves engagement, research, and synthesis.

Agricultural Area Plan (2014-2015) | Regional District of North Okanagan

In a regional planning exercise led by Upland Consulting, UFS is providing a key expert role in facilitating stakeholder discussion around opportunities for regional food systems as well as supporting project research, engagement, and plan developme
nt. The process resulted in the RDNO Agriculture Strategythat was adopted by the Board of Directors in the fall of 2015.

Sustainable Food System Opportunity Assessment (2014) | University of Alberta, Edmonton AB

Working from the Sustainable Food System Feasibility Study developed by UFS team members in 2011, an update and refresh of the strategy was completed. The 2014 assessment integrated new ideas and opportunities si
nce the 2011 study was developed. The Opportunity Assessment examined post-secondary benchmarks in seven key theme areas (1. Academic

Programs, 2. Local sustainable fair trade procurement, 3. Healthy eating on campus, 4. Farmers markets and food trucks, 5. Growing food and living laboratories, 6. food waste reduction, recovery and management, 7. Engagement, communications and celebration), scanned UAlberta current food system activities, and set out early directions and options. The report was used to engage senior operational and academic leaders at the university.

Local Food Infrastructure Assessment and Plan (2014) | Cowichan Valley Regional District

UFS was part of a team, led by Sustainability Ventures, to assess trends and demand, research best practices, and provide recommendations for strengthening local food infrastructure in the Cowichan Valley. Based on the quantitative and qualitative evidence, the team identified significant gaps in local food infrastructure that limits the economic potential of the processing and primary production industri

es. The final report contains a detailed set of recommendations and implementation steps to fill this gap and provides clarity on why and how the District may enhance regional food infrastructure and strengthen the food e

 City of Nanaimo Food Strategy (2013) | City of Nanaimo
UFS team members worked with staff to develop the framework for the Nanaimo Food Strategy, facilitated a full day stakeholder workshop to generate key directions, and drafted the Nanaimo Food Strategy. Since developing the strategy, the City has developed and adopted innovative zoning bylaws to better integrate urban food production into the City.

 Mackenzie Food Strategy (2013) | District of Mackenzie

UFS team members developed a food and agriculture policy set for the Official Community Plan and then drafted a food strategy, designed to provide further policy detail and implementation options. Policies are customized for a Northern Community.

Fresh: City Wide Urban Agriculture and Food System Strategy (2013) | City of Edmonton
Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 5.57.37 PMIn association with Rob Barrs, UFS team members developed Fresh, City of Edmonton’s Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy. Fresh set out a comprehensive vision for sustainable food systems in Edmonton. The team used our diverse skill set to meet the multiple objectives of this project including key partnerships with local leaders in Edmonton’s food, farming, and business sectors and working closely with developers, farmers, and local government. Our history of collaboration with the City to draft food and agriculture policy for The Way We Grow, as well as our undertaking of initial scoping work for the CWFAS, provided our team with a deep understanding of the many nuances and sensitivities associated with this project. To complement the strategy, key deliverables included:

  • Agriculture Inventory Report
  • Local Food Economy Assessment Report
  • Landowners Survey
  • Food and Agriculture Example Practices Guide
  • Stakeholder Summary Report

The City has since established a food council, has begun plan implementation, and was recently recognized by the Alberta Professional Planning Institute with a Planning Merit Award.

Food and Agriculture Policy Set (2011) | City of Edmonton, Edmonton, AB  

In association with Mark Holland, UFS team members developed the food and agriculture policy for the Municipal Development Plan, facilitated stakeholder focus groups to scope the strategy, and helped the City to publicly launch the project.  The MDP was adopted and the City began to further explore urban agriculture and food system opportunities.

Agriculture Now: Building a Strong Agriculture Sector (2011) | City of Campbell River        

UFS team members the lead the development of an Agricultural Plan for the City of Campbell River. As the first of its kind for the City, this plan examines how to start-up agriculture in a community where it has not historically been a significant part of the local economy. Intensive public consultation, examining the role of agriculture in or near the town boundary, identifying key areas and opportunities for the development of the agricultural land base and setting self-sufficiency targets are all key components of Agriculture Now.

Sustainable Food System Feasibility Study (2011) | University of Alberta, Edmonton AB

UFS team members facilitated a process to identify a vision for food on campus and define practical steps towards integrating sustainable food systems through operations and academic departments. Through case study research, stakeholder workshops, and a focus in integrated systems, the U of A Sustainable Food Strategy is the first of its kind in Canada.

Food Fuel + Fibre (2010) | BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Victoria BC

UFS team members conducted background research into the global trends and local impacts of food, fuel and fibre systems to produce a resource document used to help staff understand how food, fuel and fibre sustainability fits into resource lands decision making.

Official Community Plan Update (2009) | Town of Smithers, Smithers BC

UFS team members managed a community engagement and policy development process to update the Town’s Official Community Plan. As part of the OCP process, we led a 2-day charrette to revitalize the downtown.

Albuquerque Food System Strategy (2008) | City of Albuquerque, Albuquerque NM  

In association with Mark Holland, UFS team members worked with planners in the City of Albuquerque on an overall sustainability strategy that included a close examination of how to address food systems with in the overall “green” framework of the City.

Official Community Plan Update (2008) | District of Central Saanich, Central Saanich BC

UFS team members coordinated the planning team and managed a community engagement and policy development process to update the District’s Official Community Plan. Maintaining rural character and developing new zones to allow more density in residential areas were core elements of this plan.

Securing Farmers’ Markets for the Future in Vancouver (2007) | Vancouver Farmers’ Market Society

UFS team members assisted in developing policy and bylaw amendments and interpretations that support long-term use by Farmers’ Markets. In addition, helped plan nd facilitate briefings, and create the “how to” guide for distribution.