Urban Food Trees in Toronto: Benefits, Challenges & Distribution

Authors: Janina Kowalski*, University of Toronto - Mississauga
Topics: Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: urban forest, urban food trees, environmental geography, environmental management, urban environment
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Congressional A, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Interest in integrating urban food trees throughout municipalities in Canada is increasing as exemplified through the creation of community orchards, and other forms of public plantings. In addition to providing similar ecosystem services to other trees, urban food trees have the potential to provide goods to citizens through the production of fruit and nuts. Despite these benefits, there is currently little academic scholarship investigating the actual benefits, challenges, and more general impacts of urban food trees perceived by local communities and municipal actors. This presentation details early results from field work in Toronto in 2018. Methods include “go along” interviews with volunteers from the Ben Nobleman Community Orchard, semi-structured interviews with managers of at the City of Toronto Urban Forestry, Planning and Parks departments, and insights from evaluating the distribution of food trees in the Toronto urban forest inventory. Understanding these three components will give a greater understanding of different stakeholder perspectives on urban food trees, as well as their distribution and access throughout Toronto.

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