Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Seneca College gets urban farming grant

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council are jointly granting $360,000 to Seneca College to study ways to help urban farming become stronger and more sustainable.

Because agriculture plays an important role in providing ecological services in cities, this program will incorporate training, mentorship and microfinancing specifically for urban farmers in communities across Canada, the college said.

“One of our goals is to work with the local community of urban growers and help them turn ideas into businesses,” said Dr. West Suhanic, a professor at Seneca’s School of Accounting & Financial Services.

 “What makes our project unique is that we’ll be bringing science, business and sustainability together in one package.”

Dr. Suhanic will be collaborating with Dr. Lesley Campbell, an associate professor at Ryerson University and an expert in urban agriculture, plant evolution and global climate change. They will lead a team of 12 to 15 Seneca student research assistants and work with community partners Greenest City and Toronto Urban Growers.

The goal is to help address food insecurity and increase access to healthy food in urban communities. Seneca student research assistants will be interviewing current and potential urban farmers to identify gaps and gain a better understanding of what is needed for successful urban agriculture.

“This project lays the foundation for sustainable urban agriculture businesses,” said Ben Rogers, dean of Seneca Innovation

“The knowledge base and microfinancing tools developed will also support equity-seeking populations facing barriers to food security and accessing start-up capital.”