Durham College in Oshawa envisions urban agriculture as a partial solution to a long list of challenges facing Canadian agriculture.
Its list includes the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council prediction that 123,000 agricultural jobs will go unfilled by 2029, concerns about food access issues and the Dieticians of Canada finding that one in eight Canadian households does not have enough money to buy safe, nutritious food.
“To combat these challenges, while championing excellence and innovation in urban farming, Durham College (DC) is pleased to announce the official launch of The Barrett Centre of Innovation in Sustainable Urban Agriculture, Durham College said.
The Barrett Family Foundation gave $5 million for the centre which envisions becoming an internationally recognized hub of excellence in urban agriculture practices, research, education and training.
“The Barrett Centre is an amplification and expansion of all the expertise we’ve gained bringing the field-to-fork philosophy to life each and every day in our food, farming and horticulture programs,” said college president Don Lovisa.
“The knowledge and experience gained from turning unused fields into a vibrant crop-bearing farm serves as a solid foundation for what The Barrett Centre will accomplish, and we are looking forward to continuing to lead the way together, with The Barrett Foundation, our students, faculty and the community.”
The main project will be building an urban farm at the campus in Whitby.
Other goals are to:
- Become a source for information, support and coaching for traditionally underserved and marginalized communities when it comes to urban agriculture initiatives including food security.
- Create a comprehensive and connected array of educational programs and materials in urban agriculture to meet growing employment needs.
- Create dozens of new opportunities in the years ahead for students to gain experience working on urban farms and in roles supporting the operations.
- Become home to a team of highly-respected experts working to establish it as an internationally-recognized hub of knowledge around sustainable urban agriculture.