Evaluation of Urban Agriculture as Green Infrastructure for Individual and Collective Resilience in the Face of Climate and Social Change

This project will inform various institutions about the contribution of UA to food security, food justice, individual and collective resilience with regard to food and adaptation to climate change in the Montréal metropolitan area.

Project details
Scientific program
2014-2019 programming
Theme(s) and priority(s)
Health - Commercial Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture
Start and duration
January 2018 • June 2021
Project Status
Principal(s) investigator(s)
Éric Duchemin
Thi Thanh Hien Pham
Nathan McClintock
Portland State University


Urban agriculture (UA) can contribute to increasing individual and collective urban resilience in the event of an economic or environmental crisis. It is also a strategy for enhancing food security and public health within North American cities. UA has been on the rise for a number of years and is estimated to be practiced by approximately 40% of the populations of Montréal, Vancouver, Toronto and Portland.

In these cities it is used as a tool to address a number of urban social and environmental issues, including food insecurity, citizen reclamation of urban space, greening, mental health, empowerment, economic reintegration, etc. In Québec, no analysis has been done on the spatial distribution of UA initiatives, nor of their correlation with socio-economic and urban factors. Moreover, there is a lack of empirical studies on the contribution of UA to food production, and how this may be impacted by climate change.


Photo : Ville de Montréal, Développement durable


  • To provide an overview of UA in five selected areas within the Montréal Metropolitan Community

  • To inform Québec social actors about the contribution of UA to food security, food justice and individual and collective resilience with regard to food security and adapting to climate change.


  • Develop methods to obtain a better spatial representation of UA (social mapping, citizen mapping, spatial and statistical analysis, field surveys, etc.);

  • Administer a survey on AU motivations and practices;

  • Conduct semi-structured interviews;

  • Mobilize knowledge: dissemination/transfer, exchange and networking;

  • Conduct a cross-analysis of agro-climatic projections and the UA data collected.


A method of satellite photo mapping of food-producing gardens was developed and used in 11 areas and a telephone survey was carried out in five of the mapped areas (Figure 1). Over 17,046 food-producing gardens (totaling 47.9 hectares) were mapped.

Figure 1


Figure 1. Locations of the different areas sampled as part of the research program.

Food-producing gardens tend to be more present in areas with a higher density of single-family homes, low-income households, or immigrants from Southern Europe and South Asia and a lower density of households with children or university graduates. In the five areas surveyed, 37% of people grew vegetables or berries for their personal or household use, with variations between the areas.

The results indicate that 71% of respondents produced less than a quarter of their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables during the production season. On the other hand, 45% of gardeners produced enough to share their production.

The motivations for food gardening can be divided into four main categories, in order of frequency: healthy eating and the environment; leisure; education and socialization; and, lastly, the dietary contribution of the garden.
15% of gardeners indicated that they experience food insecurity, which was associated with certain socio-economic factors: being a tenant, having children and having a relatively low income or level of education. However, people benefiting from a significant contribution to their diets could be distinguished based on the location of their residence, their main occupation, their level of education and their household income.

Those who practice gardening stated that they are healthier, but the feeling of health was not influenced by gardening. However, gardening encouraged awareness of healthy lifestyle habits and an increase in physical activity. We estimate that during the summer, urban agriculture in Montréal fulfills the need for fresh vegetables for at least 100,000 people. According to more generous models, it could be 250,000 people. The monetary value of all this lies between $25 and $50 million.

43% of respondents who garden said they noticed damage to crops linked to climatic variations such as drought, late or early frosts and heavy rains. The repetition of the experiments and comparisons on the effects of climatic events on crops year after year seems to explain these results. The future climate (temperature, precipitation, etc.) of the region may be relatively positive for gardening, although environmental practices for water management and late frost will have to be developed or adapted.

Benefits for adaptation

Benefits for adaptation

Institutions will be better informed of the contribution of urban agriculture to food security, food justice, individual and collective resilience for food and adaptation to climate change in the Montréal metropolitan area.

Decision-makers and professionals in Quebec municipalities and various government bodies concerned with food (health, education, agriculture, etc.) will be better equipped to implement urban agriculture programs and evaluate them.

Scientific publications

Document type
Évaluation de l’agriculture urbaine comme infrastructure verte de résilience individuelle et…
Duchemin, E., McClintock, N., Pham, TTH.


Other participants

  • Carrefour alimentaire Centre-sud

  • Sytème alimentaire montréalais 2025

  • Direction régionale de santé publique du CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal

  • Direction de santé publique du CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre

  • Direction de santé publique du CISSS de Laval

  • Direction de santé publique du CISSS de Lanaudière

  • Ville de Montréal

  • Ville de Laval

  • Vivre en ville

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