Growing fruit and vegetables at home is nothing new, but the city is looking for input on developing a strategy on urban agriculture and food policy to expand on the idea.

The city launched an initiative Saturday to gather input on the subject from Edmontonians in the coming months.

"There is a growing community and business interest in supporting local food producers and purchasing local food to support the local economy," Mayor Stephen Mandel said in a press release. "We want to tap into that interest to help guide us toward building a sustainable local food system in Edmonton."

City Councillor Dave Loken echoed the idea behind the initiative.

"It's important that we begin the dialogue so we can properly build a food and urban agriculture strategy that will increase access to food in our neighbourhoods, provide opportunities to grow and process food in the city, and stimulate and diversify the local economy," the Ward 3 councillor said in a release.

The mayor admits the change may require building more community gardens in the city, instead of parks.

"This has to do with an ever growing city and coming to grips with the need to have a sustainable food supply for the city, and being creative in how we manage the land," Mayor Stephen Mandel said Saturday.

Many local growers are excited about the initiative, and one says the potential is there to not only produce locally grown food year round, but to benefit in other ways as well.

"If you can grow locally, if we don't have to ship long distances, the quality would be better," Dr. Mohyuddin Miraz of the Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association said in an interview with CTV News. "The carbon footprint will be minimal."

City staff will compile information from Edmontonians at local events and through informal surveys over the coming months, followed up by a symposium in the fall that will feature experts and advocates on the subject.

A report on Urban Agriculture will go before City Council Monday. Follow the link for more information on the Food and Agriculture Policy Project.

With files from Sean Amato