Community Supported Agriculture in the City: The Case of Toronto

Sima Patel, Rod MacRae


Farming in cities is gaining momentum within North American urban centers. Community supported agriculture (CSA) projects, previously viewed primarily as rural enterprises, are now starting to appear in cities, including Toronto. Urban CSAs address the new food movement's objectives as they can provide good food that is accessible, an income to those growing the food, education on how food is grown, and show the importance of environmental stewardship and the recycling of resources. We used land parcel analysis to examine the potential for vegetable CSAs in Toronto, identifying 77 parcels with a total of 1270 acres (514 hectares) of potential land for CSA farming, a large portion of which are located in the northeast part of Toronto. This represents about 1 percent of the city's surface area. From this analysis, five scenario types were constructed that could be commercially viable, and having a range of land use, zoning, institutional, and residential characteristics. There are considerable challenges, however, in their widespread implementation. Consequently, in this paper we make policy and program recommendations on how urban CSAs in Toronto might be advanced, including pilot projects, institutional linkages, program supports, training, and extension.


Community Supported Agriculture; Land Inventory Analysis; Policy Change; Urban Farming; Urban Land Use

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