In recent years, Santropol Roulant has made the shift from hobby gardeners to true urban farmers, from neighborhood Meals-on-Wheels to holistic community food centre – a place where people can come together to learn how to grow, eat, and share food in a way that is both familiar and forward-looking.
Our Urban Agriculture Program finds its inspiration in the Food Justice movement – a movement that attempts to address hunger by addressing the underlining issues of racial and class disparity and the inequities in the food system that correlate to inequities in economic and political power.
Specifically, we are interested in building a food system that is healthy, just, and sustainable. As such, our urban agriculture projects are designed to support local and organic agriculture, while assuring that such foods remain accessible to all regardless of socio-economic status, level of mobility, or degree of autonomy.
Urban agriculture is an age-old practice. Since the dawn of cities, people around the world have used urban agriculture as a means of subsistence, for recreation, or both.
A recent survey sponsored by Alternatives’ Rooftop Garden Project found that 51% of Montreal households practice some form of urban agriculture.
It’s new-found popularity here in North America can be attributed to several factors, most notably rising food costs, concerns about the nutritional quality of food, and concerns about environmental degradation.
Of course, urban agriculture has numerous other benefits, including:
- a reduction in food miles and associated greenhouse gas emissions (the average meal travels more than 2,400km from field to plate)
- contribution to food security
- community building
- therapeutic healing
- mitigation of the urban heat island effect
- reduction in rainwater runoff
- expression of cultural identity
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