City-Wide Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy

Report on Citizen Panel Process & Recommendations  - July 2012

Edmontonians are passionate about their food. This passion is evident in the diversity of food products and ingredients available throughout the city, the growing support for famers' markets in the city and surrounding areas, and the extensive food choices available in restaurants, from food trucks and take away stands, and at festivals throughout the City.

Edmonton is also a thriving, growing city, with an opportunity to take action now to foster a progressive food future that will benefit all citizens of Edmonton. Edmonton is developing a City Wide Food and Agriculture Strategy (CWFAS) to achieve the vision of, a resilient food and agriculture system that contributes to the local economy and the overall cultural, financial, social and environmental sustainability of the City. The City of Edmonton strove to engage citizens in the development of the strategy and, opportunities were provided for citizens to participate in the process, engage in dialogue about the future of urban food and agriculture and share their ideas and priorities with municipal leaders.

In the spring of 2012, the Centre for Public Involvement, in collaboration with the City of Edmonton, set out to consult with Edmontonians about food and agriculture in Edmonton. An innovative Citizen Panel process was developed to engage a broad and diverse group of citizens in this dialogue, and solicit their ideas and strategic insights. Drawing on the collective wisdom of a diverse group of sixty-six Edmonton citizens, Citizen Panels met six times over a two month period to deliberate, in a structured and rigorous way, issues related to food and agriculture in the city of Edmonton. While this process generated multiple outcomes, a priority was the development of a comprehensive and coherent set of citizen- generated recommendations as input into the development of Edmonton’s City Wide Food and Agriculture Strategy (CWFAS).

Through the course of the Citizen Panel process, participants listened, learned, deliberated and discussed. Ultimately, they developed a number of creative and viable strategies to address the goal areas identified within the CWFAS. In the final session, participants came together to examine the set of strategies developed through the process, and used keypad technology to vote, in a multi-stage process, on their collective top 10 strategies.