A Celebration of Emerging Community Gardening / Urban Farming Concepts in 2017

Urban Farming Concept

There is a lot to look forward to with the first month of the New Year now in the books and the spring planting season on the horizon. 2017 marks an exciting time for urban farming/gardening. Over the past year, our Foundation has kept its ear to the soil, taking note of innovative new and emerging ideas. As urban gardeners/farmers are preparing for the season ahead, we thought we’d take a moment to celebrate some of the compelling new concepts that we’ve come across in the hopes to inspire you to think outside of the box, planters and plots. 

4 Innovative Urban Garden Concepts to Inspire You and Future Generations

Self-Watering Community Gardens

The name sells itself for any urban gardening/farming project that is tight on human resources. This concept comes fresh out of our own relative backyard, in North Vancouver. Founders of a local community garden saw a dilemma. They recognized that although the climate in their community is conducive to growing food year-round, the majority of produce residents eat are imported from international sources. In an effort to make the community more self-sustainable, they designed a series of urban farming solutions. In doing so, they tapped into a new concept that features custom-built cedar garden boxes, fitted with food-safe waterproof liners that separate within the garden where the soil is on top and the water is below. The concept mimics the natural water table, allowing the water to draw from from the reservoir into the top soil, reducing watering frequency from every day to once a week or less. Read more on this groundbreaking project here.

Green Igloo

This attention-getting title doesn’t get much more innovative than taking the greenhouse concept into an igloo environment. The concept began with a Ryerson University (Toronto) student who stated, “As a kid growing up, I thought everybody had access to fresh food”. One day, he learned that Canada’s northernmost territory of Nunavut was almost 70 percent food insecure. That statistic is staggering, yet unfortunately not all that uncommon in some regions. Many remote communities do not have access to nutritious food, for geographic and economic reasons alike. The cost of transporting fruits and vegetables to the Canadian Arctic is extremely high. As a solution, an igloo-styled greenhouse dome has been built on Nunavut land. The space grows produce that the community would otherwise not have access to. The Green Igloo has the capacity to grow 2,000 plants, potentially providing thousands of pounds of nutritious produce at a fraction of the cost of imports. The gigantic igloo was built to handle snow accumulation of up to seven feet and northern territory winds up to 110 miles per hour. Read more on this inspiring project here.

The Rise of Rooftop University Gardens

Rooftop gardening is another solution to limited space in urban communities. It is not a new concept but it is certainly trending. We touched on the concept last year, in our feature about unique urban gardens and farms. The concept is booming with sustainable projects of the like popping up on rooftops across Canada. One arena in particular is in the limelight – universities. A 10,000-sq.ft Ryerson Urban FarmStudents project began a few years ago, fueling other universities to follow suit. Last year OCADU (Ontario), Trent University (Ontario) and the University of Saskatchewan have made leaps and bounds with their rooftop farming projects. The great thing about this movement, is that it involves young minds that will inspire future generations to come. We’re looking at a very bright future, with a view from above. Learn more here.


Also addressed in last year’s article on groundbreaking urban farming projects, is aquaponics. By definition, it is a system of aquaculture that utilizes the waste produced by fish and crustaceans (farmed on-site) to supply nutrients for plants grown hydroponically (without soil). At the end of 2016, the very first aquaponics food bank farm was established in Canada (Mississauga ON). Producing approximately 10,000 servings of fish and lettuce per year, the project may indeed lead the way as a sustainable means to battling food insecurity in Canada. Read more on this exciting development in Canadian aquaponics here

Are you a part of (or have heard of) an exciting new urban farming concept that you would like to share? We’d love to hear about it! Follow our Foundation on FacebookTwitter, and/or Google+, find this article on our recently published posts and leave a comment.

The Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation also encourages you to help others in need this year. Please visit this link to learn more about our work in Canada and be a Friend of the Foundation.