TABLE OF CONTENTS

SUSTAINABLE LIVING AND FOOD

THE WAY WE GREEN GOAL: Lifestyles of Edmontonians contribute significantly to the city's sustainability and resilience.

THE WAY WE GREEN GOAL: Edmonton has a resilient food and agriculture system that contributes to the local economy and the overall cultural, financial, social and environmental sustainability of the city. 

ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT

Ecological Footprint measures the resources Edmontonians consume and the waste they produce, compared to Earth's ability to provide these resources and absorb the waste. This measure is calculated by considering all of the biological materials consumed and all of the biological waste generated nationally per person, utilizing the Global Footprint Network's calculation methods. The measure is representative of the relative sustainability of Edmontonian's lifestyles. Edmontonians consume resources from outside the city boundaries, but the extraction, production and transportation of those resources have impacts both inside and outside the city boundaries.

The ecological footprint measure puts a number on some of the environmental impacts of Edmontonians' consumption. It demonstrates whether Edmontonians are living within their ecological means, noting that living beyond their means will affect their long-term quality of life. Edmonton's ecological footprint in 2015 was 7.45 hectares per capita. The decrease from 2014 results can be attributed to a decrease in direct energy consumption (energy associated with shelter and transportation). Overall, Edmonton's ecological footprint has remained relatively constant. Edmonton's ecological footprint can be compared with national and global footprint averages, as well as the global biocapacity of Earth (what Earth can regenerate and absorb each year).

One indicator of sustainability would be reflected by a global footprint equal to or less than Earth's global biocapacity of 1.7 global hectares per person. Edmonton's ecological footprint is almost three times larger than the global average and 4.5 times larger than the global biocapacity. The main drivers of Edmonton's high ecological footprint are Edmontonians' average consumption practices (which are related to wealth) and the use of fossil fuels (55 per cent of Canada's ecological footprint is related to carbon). This measure is impacted by how environmentally sustainable Edmontonians' lifestyles and choices are.

VIDEO: Innovation in Sustainability: Livable Communities

HOME$AVERS EVENT

The Home$avers Event presented by the City in partnership with EPCOR and RONA is Edmonton's biggest annual energy saving sales event. Products designed to promote a sustainable lifestyle are deeply discounted. For some products, the Home$avers Event is the only time that they go on sale. Edmontonians line up at RONA's South and North locations hours before the 7 am opening time to secure their eco-friendly products. The sale's favorite items included the smart thermostats, EPCOR sponsored rain barrels, LED light bulbs, low flow shower heads and more. Every year the sale attracts more interested citizens with 2015 being the most popular event yet. These energy-efficient products have a noticeable effect on household energy use levels, but the combined impact of all of these energy efficient products has the most significant impact. The majority of the 3,232 energy-efficient sale products were purchased the day of the sale. If all of these products are utilized, potential savings include $42,636.24 in utility costs and avoid the release of 363.10 tons of CO2 emossions throughout the year. That's the equivalent of planting 36,310 trees! The Home$avers Event goes to show that every small step toward a sustainable future makes a big difference!

FOOD AND URBAN AGRICULTURE

fresh: Edmonton's Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy was developed in consultation with citizens, interested groups, businesses and organizations and was approved by City Council in November 2012. This high level strategy helps guide Edmonton towards 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."

FARMERS MARKETS

Through fresh: Edmonton's Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy, the City of Edmonton has committed to strengthening farmers markets by supporting the development of new markets as well as sustaining existing markets. Farmers markets are incredibly valuable activities that simultaneously contribute to a number of key goals including local economic development, healthier residents, vibrant and attractive places, social connectedness and greener cities. In 2015, there were 18 markets operating in Edmonton, a number that has grown steadily in recent years.

COMMUNITY GARDENS

A community garden is a growing space that a group of people have come together to nurture, develop and sustain. The key feature of a community garden in the Edmonton area is that they are inclusive, meaning any member of the public may join the community garden. There are 82 community garden sites now operating throughout Edmonton promoting locally grown food, healthy and active lifestyles and safer, more socially connected communities. The environmental benefits of community gardens include a reduction in food miles, improved air quality, increased species habitat and stormwater management.

EDIBLE LAWNS

An edible front yard is a yard that incorporates edible fruit, flowers and leaves into its design. This can include everything from vegetables and grains to fruit bearing trees, berry bushes, and even mushrooms. Edible front yards contribute to biodiversity and help pollinators, while also contributing to our urban agriculture and sustainable food. Why mow it when you can eat it?

EDIBLE FRUIT BEARING TREES

An edible fruit bearing tree is a species of tree that bears fruit that is consumed or used by humans, typically right from the tree or after freezing. These trees provide several environmental benefits including: providing shade and relief from the heat island effect, improving air quality, absorbing and filtering water, creating wildlife habitat and contributing to biodiversity, while also contributing to our urban food supply. There are 51 species of edible fruit bearing trees owned and maintained by the City of Edmonton.

RIVER CITY CHICKEN COLLECTIVE

If you pay attention to changes in Edmonton you probably heard the "clucking" around the City's new pilot project involving some egg-celent feathered friends. The Urban Hens Pilot Project was approved in 2015 with 19 licenses given to interested hen keepers. This was made possible in part due to efforts of the River City Chickens Collective, a citizen group that strongly advocated for urban hens, and worked collaboratively with the City of Edmonton to inform the City to allow a pilot project and opening the gate for urban hens. Urban hen keeping isn't a new thing. In many places around the globe, it is common to see hens being kept in cities. However, Canadian cities have only recently began to embrace this trend. In Edmonton, hen keeping is also well supported by fresh: Edmonton's Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy. A list of other Canadian cities, including Red Deer, Victoria, Vancouver, Niagara Falls, and Brampton have already allowed citizens to keep hens, and Edmonton is following in their footsteps to include hens in the urban landscape. This pilot project demonstrated its success with hen keepers enjoying fresh eggs, taking a step towards increasing food resiliency as well as education in self-sustainability. The pilot was so well received that the decision was made in the spring of 2016 to expand the pilot, extending it for another year, and increasing the number of available licenses in the city from 19 to 50. Calm and friendly with gregarious personalities, hens can also make great pets for the right owners. However, keeping any animal requires careful consideration and research. The River City Chickens Collective has been an important local source of expertise, education, and support for aspiring hen keepers offering advice on breeds, housing and keeping hens happy and healthy.

URBAN BEEKEEPING LICENSES

Bees are the most important pollinator of our fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Urban beekeeping, the practice of keeping bee colonies within urban areas, helps to increase the number of these important pollinators. Bee numbers are on the decline and urban beekeeping is necessary to strengthen bee populations.

YEG BEES

YEG Bees is a group of local beekeepers who have been involved in Edmonton's urban beekeeping scene since its inception. The group promotes urban beekeeping in Edmonton through education and outreach with interested community members. Anyone looking into an urban hive within Edmonton can start with advice from YEG Bees and their experienced members. Urban beekeeping is a concept that intrigues many people, but the fact that it's not very common in Canada leads to a lot of questions from interested citizens. Groups like YEG Bees demonstrate the importance special interest groups play in kick-starting sustainability initiatives. In recognition of the potential value of urban beekeeping, in April 2015 City Council passed an amendment to the Animal Licensing and Control Bylaw to permit beekeeping in the city, and this was in large part due to the work from YEG Bees and involved community members. Bees play a major role in pollinating flowering plants and are the major type of pollinator in many ecosystems that contain flowering plants. Estimates report that one-third of the human food supply depends on pollination by insects, birds, and bats, most of which is accomplished by bees, especially the honeybee. Studies have shown that urban settings are beneficial for honeybees as there are a variety of flowers and gardens around while fewer pesticides are sprayed in these areas. Wherever honeybees are kept, the surrounding flower and food production benefits from their pollinating activities. Another advantage of urban beekeeping is helping friends and neighbors "bee informed" about the benefits of beekeeping while "buzz'tin" bee myths. There's been a ton of buzz in Edmonton with urban hives popping on the roofs of buildings downtown with locations including Grant MacEwan's downtown campus, the Shaw Conference Center, Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, and Manasc Isaac Architects. The trend of urban beekeeping promises to continue growing in Edmonton and beyond.

DID YOU KNOW: SIMILAR TO OTHER CANADIAN CITIES, EDMONTON'S ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT REMAINS SUBSTANTIALLY HIGHER THAN THE GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY THRESHOLD OF 1.7 HECTARES PER CAPITA (LIVING PLANET REPORT, 2014). THE GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY THRESHOLD IS DETERMINED BY TAKING THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF BIOPRODUCTIVE SPACE IN THE WORLD AND DIVIDING IT BY THE TOTAL POPULATION. ASSUMING AN EQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF BIOPRODUCTIVE SPACE AMONG THE GLOBAL POPULATION, EDMONTON RESIDENTS, ON AVERAGE, ARE USING OVER FIVE TIMES MORE THAN THEIR 1.7 HECTARES SHARE OF THE GLOBAL BIOPRODUCTIVE SPACE.