improve solar access for food growing
Access to sufficient solar exposure is often the most challenging impediment to food production on an urban site. Trees and buildings can create shade in spots that would otherwise be ideal for growing food - the ones just outside the kitchen or front door.
As counter-intuitive as this may seem, the city's plan to plant massive amounts of trees for carbon sequestration will probably interfere with many existing food gardens, and many more trees that are nearing the end their life-span could be removed to create room for food production. An exemption favouring food gardens could be made within the tree by-laws. If we are to produce significant amounts of our food in the city, we need to design our urban environment to make room for it.
Plenty of citizens are not yet willing to consider the city as a "farming" environment, but if our current commercial food supply should be threatened, we will suddenly be more amenable to the idea. Let's prepare for that possibility by building the infrastructure (by-laws, distribution systems and markets, solar access, composting systems, education) that supports all that delicious food.
Solar access is always a consideration when we search for local food growing opportunities, community garden space, etc.
Cabot Lyford commented
Thanks to Kim for the comment. I am not suggesting we reduce our tree cover, only that we look carefully at each situation. The City plants far more trees every year than are removed and, as an arborist who takes care of them, I am in favour of it. I too would like to see many more food-producing trees as you suggested, but they need to be in places where they will be cared for and harvested properly, meaning that the human caregivers live or work close by. A big part of making urban agriculture successful is developing the people power it needs.
My point about shade is a personal one, because for years my gardeing has been constrained by competition for sunlight.
Kim W commented
The urban canopy provides shade, shelter, wildlife habitat, and prevents our cement-coated cities from becoming a hot microclimate. Not only do trees help to control urban temperatures, they are also valuable at absorbing rainfall and gradually releasing that moisture that would otherwise be flushed into the ocean. Rather than reducing the urban canopy, the City of Vancouver should introduce a policy that favours planting only fruit and nut producing tree varieties that would contribute to urban food security. Perennial food sources (fruit/nut trees and shrubs) require less human resources, soil cultivation, water, and energy over time than annual vegetable gardens.