In this assignment on Urban Agriculture in Mississauga, my focus will be on the City of Mississauga in Southern Ontario, Canada. It is by nature, positioned on the shore of Lake Ontario. The city has a population of close to a million, according to the 2011 Canada Census. Mississauga is Canada’s 6th most populous municipality. Because of its thriving economy, Mississauga has attracted a lot of people from different races and culture. The climate condition in Mississauga is somewhat suitable for agriculture, though fog tends to be common around the springs and autumn.
All around Mississauga there are many backyard gardens and some micro livestock, especially hens, have been established by individual house residents. Both women and men are interested in creating a natural habitat environment in an urban setting out of hobby or necessity. They are practicing urban agriculture and livestock for different reasons,” better food source” as an alternative to the industrial Agri-food system, they believe that the eggs and vegetables they produce are of higher quality, safer, and more humane. Education, community building, and ecology are other reasons too. I have met two of my neighborhoods who are practicing planting vegetable and rearing hens in their backyard for more than ten years.
In the other hand, about five community gardens have been established by Ecosource, non-profit environmental organization, with a generous support of the city of Mississauga. These community gardens are Parkway Green Generation Garden, Garden of the Valley, Hillside Garden, Malton Garden and Forest Glen garden.
There is also the opening of the Iceland Teaching Garden for the MSURA (Mississauga Sustainable Urban Agriculture) project which is aiming towards increasing access to fresh and healthy food in the city, where people of the municipal and students can help with planting, cultivating and harvesting food for the Eden Community Food Bank. Perennial food production feasibility study and proposal for the Iceland teaching garden hydroponic vertical farming pilot project, environmental education and food literature reviews, client survey on fresh food used and attitude at the Eden Community Food Bank, etc.
Backyard gardening and community gardening have remained a focus of people in the world and particularly Canada today. According to Cosgrove (1998), approximately half of the total population of Canadians participates in one form of gardening or the other. This implies that people who carry out gardening processes have seen the benefits of this. Just like the Canadian Organic Growers (COG) said, the easiest way to know the source of your major food and how it’s grown is by growing it yourself, and can be a cost-effective way families can be fed. For this reason, the general public has seen many other benefits from the backyard and community gardening, and thus, new immigrants, men, women, children, and youths have taken these gardening strategies a common practice.
In order for people to have physical and economic access to nutritious, sufficient, and safe food put together to meet their food preference and dietary needs for a healthy and active life, food security becomes necessary, because it would result into great health benefits.
Moreover, saving food dollars provides tips on how to manage food and save money. Also, the idea behind community food security, helping to measure the access of food and its availability is another strategy of food security. Meanwhile, the community health and personal wellness are dedicated to ensuring good health for the general public through the provision of education on what to do to better their personal health and also build safe, healthy, and green environments. Those who reside in Mississauga benefit from these programs, particularly from the Mississauga Sustainable Urban Agriculture (MSURA). This project even went as far as instructing students and the community about the sustainable food production in the Mississauga community.
Food Security & Health Risks
It’s no doubt that the production and security of food are associated with different health risks including illness and injury. The reduction of health risk on the farm is based on the health and safety policies strictly adhered to, reduction of potential hazards, and training workers to be competent in their specialized tasks. Although, about a hundred adults and twelve children fall victim of health risk every year in Canada. But urban agriculture in Mississauga has a low statistics of those who fall victims of such circumstance, due to proper adherence to policies and the provision of all necessary items to guide against risks.
The Successes and Missed Opportunities for Urban Agriculture in Mississauga
Urban agriculture in Mississauga has encountered great successes for a number of years through the sustainable agriculture project works put together since 2010. This project had helped the community to increase access and to enjoy fresh and healthy food and also developed many agricultural gardens the community had planted, cultivated, and harvested food. In addition to this, there had been great programs put in place to assist schools and university students to carry out various agricultural projects and developments. There had been a poverty alleviation program established for equitable access to the food system in the community, and many other successes.
However, gardening in the city may encounter some missed opportunities. The opportunity to have great water fully available, this is because of the high need for water in the Mississauga city. Additionally, polluted or contaminated soils may not help achieve perfect produces, and the toxic chemicals from industries may deter the growth of plants in this city. Moreover, the urban agriculture needs to be expanded by using school spaces to improve the agricultural strength in the community and the government should increase their support for the urban agriculture financially, materially, socially, and morally. Finally, the bylaw should be able to adapt more flexible policies to enhance the urban agriculture in Mississauga.