The area of focus in this study is the city of Guelph (see Fig. 1). The boundaries of the city of Guelph are found within the extent of 43.4° to 43.6° N and 80.1° to 80.3° W (City of Guelph, 2016). The land is relatively flat throughout Guelph providing good agricultural land (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 2013). The elevation diﬀers by only 106 metres which will result in very few locations throughout Guelph with a slope above 6 degrees (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 2013). As of 2011, the population density within Guelph is 237 people per square kilometre (Statistics Canada, 2012). This high density presents a demand for more food availability, especially to those living in priority neighbourhoods.
Figure 1: Map of the study area, the City of Guelph (Produced by Mark Ohashi).
Priority neighbourhoods are defined differently depending on the city and the importance placed on different socio-economic aspects of their communities. The factors considered when determining these priority neighbourhoods are often similar, and only differ slightly due to the differing importance of each of these factors in each city. Guelph defines these neighbourhoods based on physical health, income, safety and social development (Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, 2013). Priority is given to neighbourhoods where more low income community members reside, as well as high levels of child poverty, unemployment, immigration, and health problems (Wellington-Dufferin- Guelph Public Health, 2013). The priority neighbourhoods are located in the northern area of Guelph, where there is more urban development (See Fig. 1). The Brant, Onward Willow, Two Rivers/St. George’s, West Willow Woods and Grange Hill East neighbourhoods are all considered priority neighbourhoods. As such, the most suitable sites for urban farming should be easily accessible by members of these communities (Wellington- Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, 2013; Waterloo-Wellington Public Health, 2011).
Although the rural, south-eastern section of Guelph may provide more agricultural land, providing farming opportunities within the urban community is especially important in an increasingly expanding city (Van Veenhuizen & Danso, 2007). Very few urban farms are currently established in Guelph and only one currently operational urban farm focuses on ensuring food availability to those in priority neighbourhoods and low income communities (Nelson et al., 2011, The SEED, 2017). Applying this research to the city of Guelph allows for its use in city management decisions regarding urban farm planning (Tomlik & Landman, 2009). Overall, Guelph is an ideal case study because it has the resources such as the Community Health Centre (CHC) to help maintain an expanding city and ensure the community is not paying the costs as a result. Moreover, through demonstrating this procedure within Guelph, it can then be applied in similar situations in other communities.