This article is co-written with our friends at Just Vertical – the Toronto-based startup that designs, manufactures, and grows breathtaking indoor gardens. Guided by the philosophy that green is great, Just Vertical wants to green your home, your planet, and your approach to life.

  • Urban agriculture is the act of people growing food in cities. It offers a way to increase healthy food options for city dwellers, including underserved neighborhoods. On top of that, it’s a way of building a connection with nature through the empowering act of growing food.

    Likely most of the food you eat comes from the grocery store, but less than 100 years ago, a much larger percentage of our food was grown locally. If we’d forgotten how important accessible food is to our communities, the COVID-19 pandemic acted as a stark reminder. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the cost of food has skyrocketed, leaving citizens struggling to access the food they need, revealing that many of our cities are food insecure.

    With booming populations and waning supply chains, it’s clear that local is better. That includes, above all, local and sustainable food systems.


Agriculture and Agri-food Canada” defines a food system as the production, distribution, and
consumption of food, including all points of the supply chain and retail.

Food Secure Canada says that the way to achieve food security (reliable access to nutritious food) is through food
sovereignty – people’s right to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food that has been produced sustainably.

The rise of urban agriculture

We are a resilient species. Over the last couple years, urban agriculture has seen a boom in popularity and many more of us have begun growing our own food. A whole new wave of urban gardeners has been born.

The popularity of urban gardening especially has continued to rise as more people discover the benefits of growing what they eat. Community gardens are amazing assets and provide so much more than just food. When grown locally, we eliminate packaging, remove shipping costs and emissions, opt out of pesticides, and create community between neighbors – which is priceless.

There are many other environmental benefits of participating in urban agriculture initiatives:

  • Green roofs and urban gardens help to reduce the heat island effect that we experience in cities.
  • Gardens help prevent stormwater runoff and mitigate flooding.
  • Urban agriculture reduces stress on supply chains and out-of-city producers, reducing both traffic and pollution.


Discover some of the urban agriculture organizations we’ve partnered with to support their urban greening efforts.

  • The essential role of bees

    People aren’t the only ones who benefit from the urban agriculture movement. By growing native plant species, we support a wide array of animals and insects, strengthening local biodiversity. There’s one particular creature who needs our support and who plays an absolutely essential role in our food systems: the bee.

    Our food systems wouldn’t function without bees. In fact, we can thank bees and other pollinators for one third of everything we eat.

    Bees, in turn, need a habitat with diverse and plentiful food sources to survive. As urban centers have expanded, industrial agriculture has had to keep up with the growing demand. This has led to an increase in monoculture, the practice of growing a single crop across large areas of land, eliminating biodiversity. Along with increased pesticide use, much natural pollinator habitat has been wiped out.

    By creating urban green spaces and growing your own food, you’re giving bees more food resources and safe habitat. As a thank you, they’ll be sure to pollinate your plants so you can grow the most delicious fruits and veggies!

    Click here to discover more ways for you to support the bees.

    Read more

  • Join the movement

    With so many benefits, investing in urban agriculture in our cities should be a no-brainer. Luckily, there are easy steps anyone can take to contribute to food secure cities, such as:

    • Planting a garden full of veggies and bee-friendly plants.
      Buying local. If you don’t have the space for your own garden, support local farmers instead.
    • Using your rooftop. Rooftop gardening is a great way to use otherwise wasted space and creates ecological corridors through urban centers.
    • Bring an urban beekeeping program to your building. Get your company involved and repurpose your property into a welcoming space for bees!

    We can all play a role in creating sustainable food systems and increasing access to local, affordable, and fresh food!

    To hear more from Just Vertical, follow them on Instagram at @just.vertical and learn about indoor gardening and the benefits of hydroponic growing.

See what it’s really like to bring bees to your building

Follow CEO Alex Mclean as he visits a rooftop beehive and explains what makes a bee program such an engaging tenant amenity.

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