Planting Roots: Urban Agriculture for Senior Immigrants


  • Mary Beckie University of Alberta
  • Eva Bogdan Community Futures Alberta



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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Author Biographies

Mary Beckie, University of Alberta

Associate Professor, Sustainable Community Development: Agriculture, Local Food Systems & the Social Economy, Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta; 10230 Jasper Avenue; Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4P6 Canada

Eva Bogdan, Community Futures Alberta

Project Officer, Community Futures Alberta



How to Cite

Beckie, M., & Bogdan, E. (2010). Planting Roots: Urban Agriculture for Senior Immigrants. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 1(2), 77–89.



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