Home Volume 1, Issue 2 Could Toronto Provide 10% of its Fresh Vegetable Requirements From Within its Own Boundaries? Matching Consumption Requirements with Growing Spaces

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Could Toronto Provide 10% of its Fresh Vegetable Requirements from within its Own Boundaries? Matching Consumption Requirementswith Growing Spaces

by Rod MacRaea,b, Eric Gallanta, Sima Patela, Marc Michalaka, Martin Buncha, Stephanie Schaffnera

http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2010.012.008, pp. 105–127



Is it feasible for Toronto to produce and market 10% of its fresh vegetable requirements from within its own boundary, without competing with existing Ontario vegetable producers? We used zoning maps, aerial photography, and numerous exclusionary and inclusionary criteria to identify potential food production sites across the city and, after identifying organic vegetable production yields, to calibrate supply potentials against current vegetable consumption estimates for the Toronto population. It was determined that Toronto required 2,317 hectares (5,725 acres) of food production area to meet current demand, if all production were organic to fulfill other municipal environmental objectives. Of this, 1073.5 ha (2,653 acres) of land could be available from existing Census farms producing vegetables, lands currently zoned for food production, certain areas zoned for industrial uses, and over 200 small plots (0.4–2 ha or 1–4.9 acres) dotted throughout the northeast and northwest of the city. In addition, 1243.5 ha (3,072.8 acres) of rooftop space would also be required. The land and rooftop space available suggests, however, that there would be difficulties meeting requirements for land-extensive crops such as sweet corn, squash, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and asparagus.


Keywords: urban agriculture, land inventory, vegetable consumption


Note: This is part I of a two-part series.


a Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3 Canada

b Corresponding author: +1-416-736-2100 x22116 (tel.); +1-416-476-5679 (fax); This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Banner photos include a Cape Cod cranberry bog; a cranberry “screen house” used to grade fresh cranberries; farmland near Lake Placid, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains; Montmorency cherry trees on the Mission Peninsula of northern Michigan; the historic Round Barn in the South Mountain Apple Belt of Adams County, Pennsylvania; the “Sea of Grapes” district of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, near Erie, Penn; a field of cabbages near Shortsville, NY, home to one of the world’s largest sauerkraut factories. All photos copyright by Duncan Hilchey.


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