Food (Forests) for Thought: The Policy and Management of Urban Food Forests in Canada

Authors: Janina Kowalski*, University of Toronto - Mississauga, Tenley Conway, University of Toronto- Missisauga
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: urban forestry; food forest; environmental management; policy; urban ecology
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Bourbon Room, Astor, Mezzanine
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Over the last five years, there has been increasing interest in developing urban food forests across Canada. The concept of “urban food forests” encapsulate the wide variety of ways that food trees are intentionally planted, including public or private orchards, permaculture forests or individually harvested trees. They provide benefits and increase the resilience of communities through numerous overlapping ecosystem services that extend beyond food provisioning. Municipal urban forest management plans often consider the ecosystem services that urban trees provide to local populations, such as climate amelioration, biodiversity and recreational opportunities. Despite interest and investment in publicly accessible food trees, it is unclear to what extent urban food trees are integrated into policy and management plans, and when they are, how they are conceptualized. For example, is food tree planting encouraged across the city or just in certain spaces or situations? Through an examination of municipal urban forest management plans, sustainability strategies, and other policy documents, we evaluated the management priorities and recommended policy actions associated with urban food trees. This presentation will address how urban food tress are framed within the context of urban forest management and urban sustainability initiatives in Canada, and considerations for future food forest expansion.

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