Food Spaces, Vibrant Places
The Roundtable's Food Spaces, Vibrant Places campaign was launched in June to support community gardens and temporary farmers’ markets in our cities. Our goal was to get food spaces on the municipal election agenda to ensure that Kitchener, Cambridge, and Waterloo include supportive policies for community gardens and temporary farmers’ markets in their updated zoning by-laws (which are in progress). So, we hit the streets to talk with members of the community and candidates in each ward to get our voices heard.
We asked community members to sign our petition - and over 570 did! Our team of volunteers met with 26 candidates and outreached at 18 community events and local markets. And our voices were heard. Over half of the candidates elected publicly declared support for our campaign. Some even made it a prominent piece of their election platform. And, almost all of the candidates we met with told us they would support community gardens and temporary farmers’ markets in their updated zoning by-laws!
Our campaign wrapped up after the municipal elections, but our work is not finished. Next steps are to follow-up with elected officials and municipal staff to make sure supportive by-laws are created and passed. So, stay tuned!
About Food Spaces, Vibrant Places
Food Spaces, Vibrant Places is a community-based campaign created to support more temporary farmers' markets and community gardens in Kitchener, Cambridge, and Waterloo.
Temporary farmers' markets and community gardens need to be located within walking and transit access of where people live, work, and play. This will help strengthen neighbourhoods, build community, and keep families healthy.
- Temporary farmers' markets are currently only permitted in commercial zones that allow retail uses, many of which are restricted to indoor use.
- Community members often face the challenge of finding land within walking or transit access of where they live, work, and play when trying to start a community garden.
- Zoning by-laws that permit temporary farmers’ markets in residential, institutional, open space, as well as commercial zones
- Supportive licensing by-laws and regulations for temporary farmers’ markets
- Incentives such as reduced or waived fees for temporary farmers’ markets
- Zoning by-laws that permit community gardens in residential, institutional, and open space zones
- Strengthened community garden policies
Food Spaces Matter
- There are only five temporary farmers' markets operating across Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo.
- There are approximately 60 garden sites across the three cities, or one garden for about every 3000 households.
- Waterloo region has 5.6 times more unhealthy food options within walking radius of neighbourhoods than healthy food options.
Food Spaces Make Us Healthy
- 90% of market goers said they ate more vegetables; 53% said they ate more fruit.
- People are 3 times as likely to visit a market when they live in walking distance.
- Community gardens help reduce stress and anxiety, and promote physical activity.
- Community gardens provide low cost, healthy food options.
Food Spaces Create Vibrant Neighbourhoods
- Neighbourhood markets build community and encourage social interaction.
- Community gardens promote a sense of belonging and help build food skills.
- Community gardens create a space for the inclusion of people from a variety of cultural backgrounds, ages, income levels, and needs.
- Community gardens preserve cultural identity.