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[Fwd: Urban Agricuture/Community Garden Research]

Hello everyone again,

I sent this message out a while ago, but thought I'd send it again for
any new people who have joined or those who may be re-entering the

Vera Top

Hello all,

I am wondering if any of you can help me with some information I am
seeking. FoodShare Toronto, a non-profit organization which focuses on
providing access to affordable and nutritious food in
Toronto, is undertaking a research project on urban agriculture with a
specific focus on
community gardening. The types of questions we are looking to answer
with the project include: how much food is being grown in Toronto, what
is the value of this food, what methods are people using,
why people garden, why they grow the plants they grow, whether gardeners
exchange gardening
knowledge with other gardeners, etc. The idea behind the project is to
have better information on the social and economic benefits of this form
of urban agriculture. The research can then be used as a
tool to move toward opening more lands for urban agriculture. As part of
the project we also plan to form more links with local farmers to look
at the possibilities for them to grow more culturally appropriate foods
for Toronto's diverse communities.

Our methodology at present is fairly well developed, but I am contacting
a number of
people/organizations involved in urban agriculture, seeking information
that would be of use in further refining the methodology. One specific
area which we are having difficulty with is in figuring out how
we will determine crop production in small scale garden plots. Our plan
is to visit each of the gardens involved in the project every two weeks.
During those visits we will be talking to gardeners about
what they are growing, taking pictures and trying to accurately document
the amount of production
from the garden. Short of actually weighing everything that's harvested,
which will be impossible on a two week visit schedule, we are trying to
figure out a good, relatively objective way to determine
production in what will be widely varying, highly mixed, small crop

The primary methodological tool which we have come across thus far is a
USDA formula for defining the value of production in community gardens.
We are probably going to use elements of that formula but it has certain
limitations because the factors in the formula use a dollar value as
the basis and we don't necessarily want to be looking at our production
only in dollar figures.

Would anyone have any further ideas on how we can go about gathering the
types of information we want or would you be able to refer us to any
sources which would be useful for the project in general?

Any help you can give us would be very much appreciated!

Take care,

Vera Top
FoodShare Toronto, Field to Table

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