Planting Roots: Urban Agriculture for Senior Immigrants
Keywords:Senior Immigrants, Urban Agriculture, SPIN-Farming, Social Enterprise, Community-University Partnership
In 2007, a community-university pilot project was launched in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to train and involve senior immigrants in Small Plot Intensive (SPIN)-Farming, a commercial approach to urban agriculture. Immigrants represent a significant proportion of the senior population in urban Canada, but their adaptation and integration into Canadian society can be extremely challenging. We hypothesized that involvement in commercial urban agriculture could help to address some of the economic as well as social issues they face. Evaluation of the project’s impacts in year one was based primarily on qualitative interviews with participants and community organizers following the training and implementation phases. Although limited income was generated as a result of modifications to the SPIN-Farming approach, this research suggests that involvement in commercial urban agriculture can contribute to the integration of senior immigrants into Canadian society, while also contributing to the evolution of local food systems and more inclusive communities.
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