Montréal, Canada

Photo by Karelle Clermont-Moquin

Addressing the urban challenge

Breadth of the issue- How are the problem(s) that are being tackled by your initiative affecting citizens/local businesses or a significant component of the local wildlife?

In central neighbourhoods as well as the suburbs, there is no lack of diversity of citizen, community or business practices and initiatives. This diversity is realized on the ground through individual, community and collective gardens, green roofs, edible alleys, edible insect and honey production, and growing fruits and vegetables on vertical structures. Urban agriculture was previously considered a leisure activity. However, this practice is constantly evolving and today responds to new environmental, social and economic concerns.

To meet these challenges, the City, through the 34 actions included in its Strategy, aims to:

  • Consolidate and strengthen existing practices
  • Facilitate the implementation of new projects, citizen and entrepreneurial initiatives
  • Improve data collection to better understand the practice of urban agriculture in Montréal
  • Ensure better collaborative governance
  • Build relationships with other levels of government, create partnerships and initiate actions that will have greater impact.
Depth of the issue – How seriously are the problems being tackled by your initiative impacting the life of the citizens/businesses/wildlife concerned?

In an effort to develop a more inclusive urban agriculture strategy that best meets the needs of the population, the City of Montréal conducted a survey of 1,000 Montrealers in winter 2021. The goal of this survey was to gather information on the population’s practices, satisfaction and needs, thus targeting actions to be prioritized within the framework of this Strategy. The survey highlighted several trends in the practice of citizen urban agriculture.

Overall, the lack of space (79%) is the main obstacle to urban agriculture. The keeping of chickens and the practice of beekeeping are not currently permitted in Montréal. However, the survey results show that a majority of respondents believe that keeping chickens (60%) and bees (77%) should be allowed.

Currently, Montréal has 8,500 garden plots in 96 community gardens. These cover nearly 30 hectares of cultivated area. Three-year capital investment program spending is estimated at an average of $2,500 per garden for an annual City-wide expenditure of $240,000. Significant investments will be made over the next three years to improve the citizen experience in certain community gardens. See also our answers to “evidence of feasibility” and “protocols in place”.