Reimagining the Right-of-Way: Opportunities for Enhancing Urban Agriculture in Toronto’s Hydro Corridors

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Khan, Safia
Urban agriculture is increasingly recognized for its social, environmental, and economic benefits. However, the urban agriculture movement and its practitioners encounter several barriers and challenges, including accessing land for food production, obtaining financial capital, and navigating municipal obstacles. These issues are particularly prominent for individuals in marginalized communities. There is an opportunity to improve policies and decision-making processes to integrate healthy food and farming more effectively into the urban fabric and cultural practices of cities. One-way municipalities are actively supporting urban agriculture is by reimagining and repurposing vacant or underutilized public spaces for urban food production. The City of Toronto’s transformation of hydroelectricity corridors into productive farmland through the Community Engagement and Entrepreneurial Development (CEED) Garden program is a notable example of this effort. Although community and allotment gardens have existed in these corridors for years, the CEED Garden program stands out as an innovative, partnership-focused, and community-driven urban agriculture model within hydro corridors. For the first time, food grown in the corridors owned by Hydro One, the provincial electricity company, will be made available for sale within the community through market gardens. The primary objective of this report is to identify ways of enhancing urban agriculture opportunities in hydro corridors, using the City of Toronto as a case study, with emphasis on the CEED Garden program. It examines the key factors that hinder or enable the integration of food production in these urban spaces. A series of recommendations are proposed to guide future policy, program, and plan improvements to facilitate the practice of urban agriculture in right-of-ways.
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