The unemployment rate in HRM is 5.4%. If all these unemployed people were software developers, it would be very easy to find them all great jobs. They’re not. Some of them need training; some of them need a job in their field; some of them have special needs; some of them are not able to work full time. Urban Agriculture is a great opportunity to give some of these people good jobs in their community.
David Suzuki and his daughter recently drove across Canada to look at urban agriculture in the Suzuki Diaries. They skipped HRM altogether. As mayor, I would make a commitment to rezone empty lots and old warehouses around the city to agriculture. This would allow urban greenhouses to be built; these can be used to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, beans, peas, and herbs. These greenhouses could also be used as heat traps, and that heat could be stored and distributed to neighbouring homes, as well as commercial and industrial properties. The food produced by these greenhouses could then be sold directly to the citizens of HRM, or to restaurants in the city. This cuts down the need to transport food from the country, and provides a secure source of food inside the city.
Programs could also be set up to employ students in the summer months; they could work in city gardens, or plant berries, or assist in community gardens. By partnering with the Agricultural College in Truro, we can even make these urban gardens profitable. Everyone is aware food prices are going up; by bringing the food production closer to the people who eat it, we have a better chance of keeping food prices lower, and the food supply secure and plentiful. This would also create some much needed long-term jobs along the way.