Advancing Urban Farming in Vancouver
Project Introduction and Phase One Summary
An introduction to a lively project aimed at aiding urban farmers in developing viable urban farming businesses in Vancouver and a summary of Phase One of this three-phase project: the inaugural meeting of Vancouver Urban Farmers.
By Chris Thoreau and Wesley Regan
With the City of Vancouver looking to support urban food systems and a green economy as two of ten areas of focus in becoming the Greenest City in the World by 2020, the time is ripe to engage urban farmers so as to identify their needs in order to build and maintain successful urban farming businesses.
Chris Thoreau … is coordinating a three-phase project aimed at gathering urban farmers together to collectively identify the barriers, challenges, benefits, and opportunities in urban farming in Vancouver.
Phase One: Urban Farmer Meeting – November 22, 2010 – COMPLETE!
This initial meeting will act as a who’s who in urban farming in Vancouver. It offers the chance for urban farmers to introduce themselves and their projects to each other. It is also a chance for urban farmers to see who some of their supporters are.
This meeting is also the first opportunity for urban farmers to start collectively sharing their stories and generating ideas about how to advance urban farming in Vancouver.
Phase Two: Urban Farmer Working Groups – January to March 2011 – PLANNING IN PROGRESS
These working groups offer the chance for urban farmers to start building on ideas in more detail, looking for solutions, precedents, funders, and collaborators.
While engaged in working groups farmers will also start developing a list of questions to be used to create a set of indicators for urban farming. These indicators will include land use, economics, community engagement, and other aspects of urban farming that can be reasonably measured.
The information from the working groups and initial meeting will be presented to the public in a high-profile meet and greet event in the spring.
Phase Three: Initiating an Urban Farming Network or Collaboration – WE’RE GETTING THERE…
Assuming such an initiative is supported, and drawing on the information collected from the working groups, the development of the urban farming network and a mandate can now begin.
Failing the desire to develop such a network, collaborations could begin with already existing organizations to initiate projects to address urban farmer needs identified in the working groups.