One big step for big city farming

From Colleen Kimmett in The Tyee:

‘This is not a token thing. This is a real amount of food.’ SOLEfood Urban Farm’s two-acre operation in the heart of Vancouver, BC. Photo: Colleen Kimmett. (via The Tyee)

“Nearly 3,000 rectangular planter boxes, which stand out in varying shades of green and brown against a concrete parking lot, make for an impressive sight when viewed from high above on the Georgia Street viaduct.

Situated on Pacific Boulevard between the busy overpass, BC Place Stadium, and the bustling seawall at False Creek, SOLEfood Urban Farm’s newest (and, at two acres, its largest) site is a highly-visible sign that urban agriculture has arrived in Vancouver.

Down below, SOLEfood co-founder Michael Ableman walks between the rows pointing out the crops: bok choy, eight types of kale and a new variety of strawberries bred in France that they’re trying out.

“Most of what people refer to as urban agriculture is a step up from community gardens,” says Ableman. “This is not a token thing. This is a real amount of food.”

Ableman and business partner Seann Dory have been plotting the expansion since they launched their first farm on a half-acre lot beside the Astoria Hotel on East Hastings Street.

Considering that all of Vancouver’s existing urban farms — all 2.3 acres of them, according to a 2010 census — would just about fit on SOLEfood’s Pacific Boulevard site, the expansion is significant for the city’s local food scene. It’s also a test of the financial viability of this type of social enterprise model, which has strong ties to the Downtown Eastside community where it grew up….”

Read more in The Tyee.

More related stories in this compilation in the Salt Spring News.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “One big step for big city farming

  1. The problem with doing this in the “Land of the Free” is that you must beg the permission of the local gang of psychopaths and sociopaths euphemistically know as government.

    In my particular part of the country, it is a crime to have bee’s to pollinate your food.

  2. BC Food Security

    http://www.urbanagsummit.org/

    Toronto Urban Agriculture Summit

    This is something practical , doable and empowering.

    Date : August 15-18, 2012
    Location : Toronto, Canada
    Keynote Speaker : Will Allen of “Growing Power” ,Chicago, Illinois
    http://www.growingpower.net

    Building Capacity for Action

    Around the world people are growing food in cities! From August 15 to 18, the 2012 Urban Agriculture Summit will bring together a diversity of people that are making it happen – design professionals, community groups, social housing advocates, tenants and developers, educators, planners, homeowners, urban growers and others – to share what is working, and to discover what is possible.

    From bee-keeping to community and school gardens; from aquaculture to rooftop farming, urban agriculture is becoming an essential element of food security, improving access to healthy, affordable food in a rapidly urbanizing world. Urban agriculture can also generate much-needed skills development and local employment while improving local environmental and community health.

    The first Urban Agriculture Summit in Toronto is presented by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and FoodShare. It will be action-oriented: attendees will learn new tools to advance urban agriculture in their own communities. Together participants will explore urban agriculture’s current role and future potential in 21st century city-building.

    Major Summit themes include:

    Food Security, food sovereignty and city-building
    Planning and design of innovative infrastructure for small & large-scale urban agriculture
    New technologies and innovative practices associated with production
    Scaling up urban agriculture: Supportive programs, policies and governance models
    Best management practices in for-profit and not-for-profit food production
    Building the business case: the economics, financing and marketing of urban agriculture
    Embedding urban agriculture in community development and housing

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