The Small Plot Intensive garden model of urban farming is gaining traction across Canada, as evidenced by this article in the Globe and Mail…

In exchange for use of the land, each client gets a basket of fresh produce weekly throughout the season of about 20 weeks. Others who can’t offer land can purchase “market share subscriptions” and receive a steady, weekly supply of produce throughout the season. In every backyard, a garden plot.

With this model it is possible to grow farmers market quantities of food on small plots, as little as 1/8 of a acre!It is a shame that some Zoning bylaws explicitly prohibits agriculture and the growing of crops in Residential areas, (as well as banning chickens and goats – which would be productive members of the urban agriculture scene!). Growing food in other people’s yards isn’t the problem, rather I foresee that the sales of these crops may become an issue. There may also need to be new definitions for business licenses in many municipalities that have lost all agricultural heritage.

These may seem like trivial issues, but to get clarity, this is a question that councils such should consider as these projects become more popular – would the SPIN model of gardening – and the earning of income from such crops be a violation of the zoning bylaw?

For more information on the model and to purchase the guides, see Spin Farming.


Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.

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