The Local Food Economy

We want to encourage a broad community conversation about food in the city. So every week until our Food in the City conference we are going to offer up a “juicy” question about food and agriculture.

Last week’s question explored the connection between food and healthy ecosystems. We received great comments that lead to a wonderful image of Edmontonians as healthy people living in healthy ecosystems, buying and eating healthy food.

This would seem to translate into a growing demand for local foods here in Edmonton and beyond. As the demand for local continues, the opportunities for local jobs and businesses grow.

We’re talking about everything from farming, processing, getting the food to the table, storing and warehousing, selling, marketing, cooking, and managing the waste. All of the opportunities in the various parts of the local food economy could create long-term jobs and community wealth for people in Edmonton and the region. Assuming this might all be true, then local food could add a lot of value to Edmonton.

But we’re not sure if there is a line up of entrepreneurs out there wanting to get into the local food market. When’s the last time we saw a potential farmer on Dragon’s Den?

So, our question to you this week is: What work or business opportunities would you be willing to pursue in the local food economy?

Join the conversation, post your comments, and share what you are thinking with others!


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About the Author
Larry Retzlaff
Larry Retzlaff is a Senior Planner with the City of Edmonton.
  1. 7 years ago

    Do farmers go after VC funding?

  2. aLocalGirl
    7 years ago

    Just remember: You want it- you need to be willing to invest in it- without taking from one persons hand to feed another.
    I would also like to add that going organic is the way to go, that was the way to go years ago without use of chemicals, my grandparents called it food.
    My concern is the land that we have in the areas that we want to protect is already full of nitrogen from past and present farmers usage of fertilizers.
    Don’t say it’s not true… it sure is a FACT.
    Local NE residents are not able to use wells any longer because the rain runoff is pushing the nitrogen to the wells polluting them with deadly levels of nitrogen. Unfit for human consumption, levels so high they are deadly. Most residents have had to make the investment of cisterns- with then turning to more polluted water that has had chemicals pushed through – when the water once had was 100% organic, straight from the earth.
    Before we decide to do all this Food Economy we should look at repairing the problem of toxic lands before we embark on producing “organic food” in toxic soils!

  3. Janelle
    7 years ago

    My husband and I grow 60 acres of vegetables in Northeast Edmonton and we make a good living doing it. Our land was made available to us by my parents, we have a microclimate here that allows for us to have a longer growing season and we have access to water via the north saskatewan river for irrigation. It is the perfect spot to grow food and our land has been growing food for decades. Young people often inquire about how to enter the local food economy and they are very interested in what we do. Because the land speculation in the Northeast, the price of land is very high, I believe if the northeast lands are protected for growing food, the risk of making large farming investments would lower and young people would see the industry as more viable. The good land is foundational for growing food, if it was protected I really believe, the rest would fall into place, people will move in and start growing food. Right now the proposed ASP has a highway going right through my land and it is preventing me from making infrastructure investments. How can the local food economy grow if the land is not protected? What makes my buisness viable is my proximity to markets,local labour and water and fertile soil perfect for growing food.
    As for dragons den? I have seen farmers on there! I haven’t been on cause I haven’t been strapped for money.
    Janelle Herbert
    Riverbend Gardens

  4. Antony
    7 years ago

    Does anybody know what the 1. zoning bylaws & 2. health regulations that help promote or prevent urban agriculture in Edmonton?


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