Incorporating Policies for a Healthy Food System into Land Use Planning: The Case of Waterloo Region, Canada


  • Ellen Desjardins University of Waterloo
  • John Lubczysnki Region of Waterloo Planning
  • Marc Xuereb Region of Waterloo Public Health



Canada, Farm Viability, Food Policy, Food System Planning, Healthy Food Access, Land Use Planning, Local Food System, Public Health, Official Plan, Waterloo Region


Land use planning is a critical tool among the strategies needed to redirect our food system into a new trajectory toward improved health, environmental sustainability, and small to midsize farm viability. We present the case of the region of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where recent revisions to the Regional Official Plan (ROP) now include a suite of specific land use policies related to food. What characterizes food systems planning in Waterloo is the inclusion of both rural and urban land use policies, and close collaboration between the Planning and Public Health departments. This article documents the context in which this partnership took shape, the process of information gathering and community consultation, and the specific food-related policies that were included in the ROP. The relevance of these policies to the local produce auction, community markets, community gardens, and on-farm stores illustrates how policy emerges from practice, and also suggests that policy work is an ongoing work in progress.


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Author Biographies

Ellen Desjardins, University of Waterloo

RD PhD, Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1 Canada; +1-519-886-0386.

John Lubczysnki, Region of Waterloo Planning

Region of Waterloo Planning, Housing and Community Services Department, 150 Frederick Street, 8th Floor, Kitchener, ON N2G 4J3 Canada.

Marc Xuereb, Region of Waterloo Public Health

Region of Waterloo Public Health, 99 Regina Street South, 3rd Floor, Waterloo, ON N2J 4V3 Canada.



How to Cite

Desjardins, E., Lubczysnki, J., & Xuereb, M. (2011). Incorporating Policies for a Healthy Food System into Land Use Planning: The Case of Waterloo Region, Canada. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 2(1), 127–139.



Food Systems Planning Call Papers