In developing fresh: Edmonton's Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy, the City of Edmonton used a variety of methods to consult with citizens, community organizations, businesses and other stakeholders.
Food and Urban Agriculture Advisory Committee
The City of Edmonton created the Food and Urban Agriculture Advisory Committee during the development of fresh to offer guidance and experience in exploring the many complex issues associated with food and urban agriculture policy. The committee included members who have considerable knowledge, experience, expertise and interest in food and agriculture issues in Edmonton. The Advisory Committee was instrumental in ensuring that fresh was a made-in-Edmonton strategy that reflected the context of Edmonton and the Capital Region.
Open Houses and Surveys
Four open houses were held at the beginning of October 2012 after the draft version of fresh was written, and before the document was finalized. In conjunction with the open houses, an on-line survey was conducted to allow citizens to give their input on the nine strategic directions and the recommendations within the strategy.
A public opinion survey on food and agriculture issues in Edmonton ran for much of the month of June. The survey was one of the tools we used to gather input from citizens for the development of a food and agriculture strategy. The survey closed on June 23, 2012.
A total of 2,269 people from the Capital Region participated in the survey. Everyone who participated had a chance to win an iPod. L. Botsford was the winner.
An innovative consultation process was designed to engage citizens in discussions on food and agriculture policy issues.
See below for a video showing the first Citizen Panel at work. The Citizen Panels began their discussions at the end of April 2012 and ran till June 2, 2012. Randomly selected citizens gathered in groups of 12 every week for six weeks to discuss the issues in depth.
The Centre for Public Involvement from the University of Alberta tracked the progress of these groups as they explored recommendations for the evolving food and agriculture strategy. Their recommendations will be integrated into the discussions on a wider strategy.
Stakeholder Focus Groups
The City organized focus groups made up of those who have a strong interest or knowledge of food and agriculture policy issues, a strong potential to influence food and agriculture policy issues, or those who might reasonably expect to be significantly impacted by the results of this project.
A total of nine focus groups held their first discussions between April 30 and May 4, 2012.
Another round of focus groups held discussions in mid-June 2012.
The groups were divided into a number of categories, representing a broad cross-section of those in the community having knowledge, experiences and interests in food and agriculture issues: farmers and producers, food retail and restaurants, government, development community, culture, local processors and distributors, community organizations, education, and social welfare and health.
Food in the City Conference
As part of the exploration of this important subject, the City of Edmonton hosted an exciting conference that was held May 25-26, 2012.
The conference keynote speaker was Wayne Roberts, author of The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food and former manager of the Toronto Food Policy Council. Workshops were led by local experts on food and agriculture issues. HB Lanarc Consultants presented their work to date on a food and agriculture strategy, including research findings on food and agriculture opportunities in Edmonton and the latest feedback from stakeholder consultations.
Citizen Panel 5: It’s a wrap!
Citizen Panel 4: Healthier Ecosystems
Citizen Panel 3: Stronger and more vibrant local economy
Citizen Panel 2: Healthy and Food Secure
Citizen Panel 1: Everybody Eats
Food in the City conference: Janine de la Salle
Food in the City conference: Conference recap
Food in the City conference: Wayne Roberts