Students participate in RBC grant program in support of urban agriculture

Eight Durham College (DC) students launched innovative urban agriculture projects this year, thanks to $5,000 in funding each from the RBC Urban Agriculture Work Integrated Learning Program.

The new grant program is a partnership between RBC and DC’s Barrett Centre of Innovation in Sustainable Urban Agriculture and aims to raise awareness of this critically important field which encompasses any farming or food production done in an urban area, such as aquaponics, aeroponics, rooftop farms and community gardens.

Students from a wide range of DC’s programs submitted ideas, bringing their unique expertise and experience to promote urban agriculture. Some project examples include:

  • The expansion of the DC Farmer’s Market, led by Horticulture – Food and Farming student Natalie Cox.
  • A community seedling program that provides seeds to promote planting in urban spaces, from Graphic Design student Labiba Raisa.
  • A micro-garden system allowing clients to build their ideal 12’x12′ garden, led by Horticulture – Technician student Matthew McCready.

“With food insecurity a growing concern around the world, it’s more important than ever to develop alternative methods of food production,” said Brenna Bizley, partnership manager, Barrett Centre. “The RBC Urban Agriculture Work Integrated Learning Program is an amazing opportunity for Durham College students and graduates to develop, launch, or scale a project or business related to urban agriculture and make positive contributions to the community. We are grateful for RBC’s support and vision.”

“What an amazing opportunity for students to learn about urban agricultural skills alongside industry experts,” said Andrew Staniforth, RBC Vice-President, Business Financial Services Agriculture. “The RBC Urban Agriculture Work Integrated Learning Program will help students develop the critical sought-after skills and experience needed for jobs of the future and at the same time help address food insecurity in our communities.”

The projects are underway and the students must submit their final report by October 1.