‘Lettuce Turnip the Beet’ on Growing More Food in Victoria

The City is considering bylaw changes that would allow raw, unprocessed food such as fruits, nuts, seeds, eggs and honey to be grown, harvested and sold anywhere in the city, while limiting impacts to neighbours.

As part of the Growing in the City initiative that encourages boulevard and community gardening, the City is now considering permitting small-scale commercial food production business everywhere in Victoria. This would enable people to both grow and sell unprocessed food on a range of potential sites including commercial areas, vacant lots, residential properties, rooftops, institutional properties and other underused sites.

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 2.02.31 PM

Individuals wanting to sell food would be required to obtain a business licence for offsite sales (such as retail locations and restaurants) and on-site sales (such as food stands and farm box pick-up locations.) A year-long business licence for off-site sales will be available for $100. Two on-site business licence options will be offered, a three-month licence for $25 or a year-long licence for $100.

The proposed bylaw changes would also eliminate the need for a development permit for certain types of landscaping required for commercial and non-commercial urban food production (such as community gardens, community orchards and edible landscaping).

Also proposed is an update to the Official Community Plan to clarify that development such as housing, office and retail buildings will be considered a higher priority than small-scale commercial urban food production, to balance food security and production with the City’s objectives for new housing and development.

The public is invited to learn more and share their feedback on the proposed changes by Monday, August 22, by email to engage@victoria.ca. All feedback will be shared with City Council for their consideration prior to the Public Hearing on August 25, 2016 starting at 6:30 p.m. inside City Hall.