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Where the Fruit Falls: The Governance of Urban Food Trees

Authors: Tenley Conway, University of Toronto- Mississauga, Janina Kowalski*, University of Toronto - Mississauga
Topics: Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: urban forestry, fruit tree, urban food tree, urban governance, urban food production, urban ecology
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 10:15 AM / 11:30 AM
Room: Virtual Track 10
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The presence of food trees within cities is rising in profile with the creation of community orchards and food forests, as well as increased interest in food security and climate change. Food trees provide potential opportunities to meet urban forest canopy goals, while also supporting urban populations’ desire to engage in urban food production through the provision of fruit and nuts. However, the approach to integrate and manage food trees in urban spaces across Canada is varied. This presentation explores different governance models in four Canadian cities (Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto), which range from no formal management to municipal or NGO led management. The question was addressed through semi-structured interviews with municipal actors in Parks and Recreation/Urban Forestry Departments, as well as not-for-profits, volunteer groups, and individuals involved in these sites. The interviews identified challenges arising from the potential for litigation and limitations of different management structures. The presentation will also consider the interplay between policy and on-the-ground action to highlight the ways that urban food trees function within the urban landscape.

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