In January 2013, the City of Vancouver unanimously passed the Vancouver Food Strategy, an official roadmap calling for Vancouver to become a global leader in urban food systems, with the target of increasing city and neighbourhood food resources by 50 per cent by the year 2020.
Already known as a hotspot for urban agriculture development in Canada, the strategy sets out goals to grow the city’s food assets, such as community gardens, orchards, farmer’s markets, and urban farms – which the City aims to boost in numbers from 17 to 35 within the next six years.
All that development will need plenty of fresh water to support it, and with public interest in these initiatives continuing to blossom, two Peter Wall Institute Associates are working to shed light on the actual production potential of the city, based on availability of healthy soil, sunlight, water, and nutrients. Dr. Mark Johnson and Dr. Nicholas Coops hope to gain insight into what impact agricultural development could have on water use within Vancouver.
“We’re developing approaches to effectively understand the water use implications of growing food in Vancouver, and we’re trying to use methods that would then be transferable to other areas as well”, explains Dr. Johnson, part of the Institute’s 2013 – 2014 Research Mentoring Program and an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability.