Southlands is one of the largest community farms in North America. Of the 530 acres, 80 percent form the publicly owned Southlands Farm. About 275 of these acres are currently devoted to conventional crop farming and another 50 acres comprise the smaller market gardens of Southlands Community Farm, producing mixed crops according to organic principles. Southlands is the first development project in Canada to bring the vision of agricultural urbanism to life, intricately planned to make authentic connections to agriculture a part of daily life. Residents celebrate food: tending and harvesting allotment gardens, shopping at the farmers’ market, or simply relishing the farm-to-table feast.
The planning principle of agricultural urbanism was born at Southlands and it helped spawn a movement in community and regional planning that resulted in a number of new communities developing around the principles of integrating farming and food production in many aspects of community life. The term “agrihood” has been applied to the handful of new neighbourhoods and communities across North America that have re-integrated agriculture into community life, including through local economic development through higher value farm business; education supporting the intergenerational extension of farming; and, agricultural activities at various scales, from hobby farming to community gardening as recreational activities and social activators.