REES Department Seminar: Kevin Jones and Sarah DeLano, Friday, January 20, 2023

Date(s) - 20/01/2023
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
550 General Services Building, 550 General Services Building University of Alberta , Edmonton Alberta

Title: Experiments in Citizenship: Belonging and Sustainability in Edmonton’s Green Spaces

Speaker: Kevin Jones and Sarah DeLano

Paper Authors: Kevin Jones, U of A; Department of REES Sarah DeLano U of A, Faculty of Arts; and Michael Granzow (Lethbridge College)

Date: Friday, January 20, 2023

Time: 3:30 – 5:00 PM

Location: 550 General Services Building


Edmonton, Alberta has, like many cities, experienced an urban agricultural renaissance in recent years.
While gardening has always been part of the City’s history and identity, the embedding of food and
greenspace planning within municipal policy, and the growth of a number food security and urban farm
initiatives have brought the garden out of the backyard and into the urban landscape at large. This
transition has been characterized by bold visions for developing food security, building ecologically
minded agricultural alternatives, fostering micro-scale entrepreneurship, and protecting agricultural
lands. Yet, despite the flurry of activity surrounding urban agriculture, the boldest visions largely remain
out of reach and fragile next to the more traditional urban development priorities of a growing City,
including threats from competing articulations of sustainability and greenspace management. In
response, we propose some benefits of rearticulating the ways in which we value urban agricultural
landscapes, embracing the fluidity and uncertainty of these spaces. Beyond projecting and reifying
urban agriculture as a discrete alternate, or fix, for the failure of modern food systems and urban
landscapes, we suggest it is useful to approach initiatives in Edmonton (and elsewhere) as experiments
in sustainability, and opportunities for building belonging, engagement, and citizenship in the City. In
making this case we draw on findings from a study of competing urban agricultural imaginaries at a
community-led urban farm, as well as a community-based research project which explored belonging
and citizenship through the urban food practices of immigrant women.

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