Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming

An exciting new initiative was launched in Guelph today – the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming at the University of Guelph.

In addition to serving a research role, the Centre will provide hands-on experience to children, students and the community in organic food production.  The children at the Child Care and Learning Centre on campus will have their own garden to grow and harvest food.

Over the past several years, we have seen a dramatic increase in public interest in organic farming, local food production and the 100-mile diet.  At the city, we are getting more requests for community garden space.  With growing environmental and energy concerns, people are looking for ways to make a difference.  People care deeply about the health of their children, their families, their community and the planet. 

I am proud that with this Centre, Guelph will become a national leader in this area of research and learning.  Just a couple of days ago, I was speaking to new graduate students at the University to welcome them to our city.  In my remarks, I mentioned how important it is to continually strengthen the ties between the university and the community.  I also mentioned how much the city of Guelph benefits from the expertise that is available at the University.  The Centre for Urban Organic Farming is a perfect illustration of that.

With more people living in urban centres than in rural areas for the first time in the history of our planet (and with more than 80% of Canadians living in towns and cities), we urgently need new ways to connect people with their natural environment and to ensure they understand the importance of rural communities.  As the posters say, “Farmers Feed Cities”.

I am particularly excited about the opportunities for young children.  We know that young girls score higher on tests when they can see a tree through their window when studying.  The more “green” they see through that window, the better they score.  Integrating the natural world into our urban experience is essential.

Guelph has been a recognized centre for agricultural innovation for over a century.  The industry has certainly changed over the years.  Today, Guelph has more than 100 agricultural industry associations, 30 research centres and laboratories and 70 companies working in the fields of agriculture, food and life sciences.   It is terrific to add this Centre to that list – sometimes change leads you back to your roots.

About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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One Comment on “Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming”

  1. sirb Says:

    That’s interesting that trees within view increase test scores for girls. Is this true for young boys as well? I would imagine so. Perhaps this is based on a study only involving girls.

    This is great news for Guelph and for agriculture…one thing that could help our environment and support local farmers is for more people to get involved in the existing CSA’s (Community Shared Agriculture). The Ignatius farm in Guelph is one example.

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