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February 25 2013 – Public Hearing for the Horsehill Area Structure Plan
City Council Chambers, Edmonton City Hall
Edmonton’s City Council seems poised to approve a plan that preserves virtually none of the prime farmland in northeast Edmonton. The proposed Horse Hill Area Structure Plan (ASP), slated for Public Hearing on February 25 and 26, 2013,(1:30 to 9:30 both days) would convert almost all remaining farmland to residential and retail development.
February 25 1:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
February 26 1:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
October 26 2012 – Public Hearing for the City Wide Food and Agriculture Strategy
City Council Chambers, Edmonton City Hall
Friday October 26 9:30 to 5:30
Speeches from the 26th
“Mayor mandel and the executive committee council members
My name is jackie clark and I own horse hill berry farm located in NE Edmonton.
Mayor Mandell, in October 2010 you visited Horse Hill and sat in my neighbors living room and promised me and other farmers who want to continue growing in NE Edmonton – you promised you would help us farmers, help strengthen our business case, with city resources – $50,000, you mentioned. To help Edmontons agriculture producers to strengthen the agric food industry – a pillar of economic growth we were . you promised to meet with us in one month. You told us to organize our selves and we would meet in one month.
In fall 2010 we did organize ourselves into Northeast Edmonton Agriculture producers – a registered society for Agricultural purposes. I worked hours on a power point profiling each growers business, number of employees, amount of land, what we grow, who we sell to, commercial and retail or for processing or distribution. Showing the strength of each business. But when we called your office to meet you were unavailable –this went on for months.
Finally, after a year Igot the hint…. And my hope for mayoral input into growing agrifood industry in Horse Hill – hope for your business acumen that I so highly respect – turned to disappointment. And So Mayor Mandel I remain disappointed, with your broken promise of resources and support for us farmers.
IN fact mayor mandel in 2012 it has felt like the opposite of support to future of farmers in NE Edm. IT was your office that chose the CWFAS committee member created 2 polarized camps. Resulting in a CWFAS document that is impotent to influence future ASPs land zoning directions that would benefit for the agri food industry. The industry you promised to strengthen.
My son Samuel Wilson is here to share his future hopes with the executive committee. He wants to run the berry farm when he is older, making him the 5th generation of farmers on our land. The CWFAS needs to recommend zoning for Urban Growth ASP that ensures a future farming community for young agrarians like Samuel.
I would suggest the CWFAS falls short of recommendations for council to zone a food land reserve in parts of prime farmland on future ASPs.”
“Hello my name is Janelle Herbert. I am the owner and operator of Riverbend Gardens. I am part of North East Edmonton Agriculture Producers.
At Riverbend Gardens we grow 50 acres of vegetables 100%of these are distributed locally within Edmonton and surrounding area. We distribute our produce through farmers markets, a box delivery system that partners with other local business, and through Sunfresh farms, a local wholesale food distributor. Our farm is located in North East Edmonton.
Our land is exceptional, we have sandy soil that allows for good drainage and it heats up quickly in the spring, we consistently have field crops to market at least one week or more before other farmers in the region. Potatoes and Peas as early as June 20th and carrots by June 25th. This provides edmontonians with fresh local produce for an extra week. We have consistently had sweet corn on the same opening week as Taber. We have direct control over how much water individual crops get with our irrigation system, being located within city limits allows us direct access to our market customers and labour force.
Not only does our farm provide food, we provide experiences, and work with other organizations like the Native healing center, who bring people out, to thier sweat lodges and teach people about native heritage. We provide space for City Farm, an organization who teaches young under privileged children about agriculture and connects them to land. We have offered field trips, we belong to several agriculture associations, we volunteer on many farmers’ market boards, , we hosted the bissel centre’s community garden this year. We have hosted events for travel alberta and the Edmonton regional tourism group
At Riverbend Gardens, we are committed to farming practices that take care of the land so that we can farm it year after year after year. We put back into our land what we take out. We are dedicated to land stewardship and believe that our land was created for growing food, for growing relationships, and growing communities.
We have many business opportunities available to us at riverbend gardens. We could create upicks, community gardens, agri-tourism and the list goes on and on. Our business is resilient and recession proof.
Our farm is located within city limits, one would think that this was advantageous given our incredible soils, our access to water, and our proximity to market, it is a recipe for success and I attribute a lot of our success to those key advantages, except for one thing, our constant threat and struggle with encroaching development. I am not against development except for that historically in Edmonton it left no room for sustainable agriculture.
What I need from the city wide food and ag strategy to remain in business in our city is a permanent agriculture zoning that allows for me to make long term investments not only for me but future generations of farmers. A zoning that not only includes my land but a larger tract of land for a sustainable farming community. It is not only my vision to preserve what Edmonton already has but to restore a market gardening community, where there are opportunities for others. The growth of the local food movement and economy in Edmonton in the past few years has grown, there are new farmers markets evolving and customers are demanding local product. I was asked almost on a weekly basis this summer to join a new market, as they had no vegetable vendor. In 10 years, How will we fill the demand for local vegetables?. Our local food opportunities are going to die if the responsibility is left with me. I cannot be left standing alone with 2 or 3 other farmers in the North East. Why do we spend all this time tying to attract new business, and were not taking steps to support existing businesses. I am asking council, seize the opportunity before you and create and area where the local food and community can flourish.
I don’t have all the answers, but I have the vision
I would like council to take the time to get the information before making these important land use decisions.”
“To Mayor Mandel and The Executive Committee Members of Council
My name is Samuel Wilson. I am in grade 6 at Horse Hill Elementary School. I live on an acreage in northeast Edmonton with my family – which includes my dad, mom, 3 sisters, one brother, one dog and one cat.
I am eleven years old and my future plans are to work at my parents raspberry farm.
I feel like this land in northeast Edmonton should be saved for my generation and many others for agriculture.
Because what it we took out all the agricultural land?
Where would you get your nice fresh vegetables from?
There wouldn’t be anymore agriculture in Edmonton if we covered it with development of houses and malls.
This land in northeast Edmonton, is a part of agriculture history that needs to be saved and not made into housing development in the city
Of course, as a city council, you are in charge of roads, city police, libraries, transit and the fire department.
Why can’t you be in charge of preserving agriculture land in Edmonton as well??
Out of the twelve city councilors –
haven’t you been to a farm and seen how fun I can be?
How sad it can be when your good agriculture land is removed to develop more houses, condos and malls – that we already have in our city.
Isn’t there enough of that in our city?
Isn’t there NOT enough land for food growing in our city?
I would ask you to try your hardest to include in the City Wide Food & Agriculture Strategy – saving the most land possible.
Videos from Three of Our Local Farmers
August 01 2012 – Get a brief update on our august farm tours