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Vancouver Urban Farming Forum 2011 – Land Use, Policy, and Best Practices

A gathering of Vancouver’s urban farmers

Friday, November 25, 2011 (evening);
Saturday, November 26, 2011 (all day)

Introduction from the website:

Vancouver has the goal of being the Greenest City in the World by 2020. Local food and green economy are two of ten areas of focus for achieving the greenest city goals. Urban farming is in a unique position to contribute to both of these goals. The number of urban farms in Vancouver is increasing and these green businesses are leading the way in developing economically viable food production models for the urban environment.

With urban commercial food production being a relatively new occurrence in Vancouver, it is not accounted for in current city policy. There are a number of factors affecting urban farms’ ability to operate as legitimate businesses in Vancouver including land zoning and business licensing. This forum comes out of an interest from both the City and Urban Farmers to work together toward policies, best practices, and land-use decisions that can support urban farming practices now and into the future.

This forum will draw on policy precedents from other West Coast cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Victoria, and Lantzville – to generate ideas for shaping Vancouver’s city policy. Each of these cities has implemented urban farming policies over the past several years and can offer a lot of insight into developing our own policies here in Vancouver.

This forum also offers the opportunity for urban farmers to share what they have to offer to the city and to discuss best practices to ensure urban farming activity is not at odds with other urban activities.

As urban farming becomes more and more prevalent in Vancouver changes to policies will be essential in ensuring the sustainability of urban farming businesses. This forum offers the opportunity for input from a wide range of stakeholders in an effort to realize those changes.

See more details here.

And sign up today here.


1 Athenaise Guertin { 10.01.11 at 12:39 pm }

Neat! I’m really looking forward to this!

2 Dirk Becker { 10.02.11 at 7:58 am }
3 Dirk Becker { 10.02.11 at 8:01 am }

One of the speakers is mayor Colin Haime of Lantzville.
Here is an excellent article in the Georgia Straight that does and amazing outlining the year long battle with the mayor.

4 JeninCanada { 10.02.11 at 10:17 am }

Seeing as how Lantzville doesn’t have an urban agriculture policy and is currently attempting to create bylaw that would seriously impact the implementation and upkeep of such I wonder by the mayor is a speaker.

5 Tammy R. { 10.02.11 at 1:50 pm }

I find it interesting that the Lantzville Mayor is a keynote speaker. I am not quite sure what the forum thinks he can offer, as the town of Lantzville is currently wasting taxpayer money on litigation of an urban farmer even though the new bylaw is in the works. Although I do believe that creating bylaws that work well for a community is not easy, the challenges of this particular bylaw are more to do with the lack of vision and effectiveness of mayor and council than the true difficulties of making a fair bylaw.

6 Sarah Sherman { 10.02.11 at 3:05 pm }

Lantzville bylaw challenges – Lantzville Mayor Colin Haime

Having lived in Vancouver for a number of years as well as in Nanaimo, adjacent to Lantzville, I believe that this is an awesome opportunity for new growth and forward thinking. Vancouver is working towards being green and sustainable. For this I offer kudos to an amazing city.

Having said that, I am not sure why Mr. Haime is considered a keynote speaker on this topic of bylaw challenges. I do not believe that he would be in a position to adequately and fairly discuss the topic.

At this time, Mr. Haime has spent the past year, public budget, innumerable hours and legal effort to shut down urban farming. By law challenges? Absolutely! However, citing bylaw infractions that keep changing and continuously moving the goal post that the urban farmer/constituent is unable to meet and throwing red herrings into the mix such as “raw manure”, misquoting and taking discussion out of context to support his uneducated theories, advising residents to move to ALR lands (absolutely beyond being affordable for the average person), creating a personal website to argue his position rather than remaining unbiased and looking at all information prior to working to support an educated decision, creating committees to discuss urban farming and stacking the committee with all the naysayers including the original complainant and not the persons in question of breaking the bylaw… Well, you get the idea.

Since the issue of urban farming is in the news daily and the city of Lantzville is being viewed by people around the globe, it does not seem that having Mr. Haime meets the description in the posting of providing “This forum offers the opportunity for input from a wide range of stakeholders in an effort to realize those changes.”

I suggest there are other keynote speakers who could provide an unbiased discussion that has not become personal. Mr. Haime has been shown to work closely with Mr. Robert Wager of VIU and Monsanto advocate…. this does not seem to meet this meetings agenda.

Signed a BC resident who moved to NB in order to afford farmland that I could live on in a natural way without poisoning my food or earth.

I wish you all the best in supporting Vancouver in it’s progression towards urban farming.

7 Jamie Wallace { 10.03.11 at 5:35 am }

I have to scratch my head and wonder why the mayor of Lantzville would be considered to speak at this progressive event… Is it due to his aggressive campaign in Lantzville, were he is trying to shut down an Urban Farm? Is it due to the thousands of letters the mayor has received in support for Compassion farm? I might add these letters have largely been ignored. There does not seem to be a positive connection between Urban Farming and the Lantzville mayor.

Attending this forum would be a joy, as I have a strong interest in Urban Farming and have been involved in the landscape industry for over 25 years. Your choice of speakers though will inhibit my willingness to participate. The mayor is obviously apposed to Urban Farming within our community and someone I would not expect to see speaking at this event.

8 Marjorie Stewart { 10.04.11 at 11:38 am }

You have certainly created a lot of free publicity with your mischievous invitation of Mayor Haime to speak to your gathering. I never invite a speaker on whom I have not “taken up references”. By the way, our zoning bylaw is 60. The proposed bylaw that our mayor and council majority will use to shut down Compassion Farm is at 2nd reading and is called 60.23. It is in all but the critical issues of size and interference in public health responsibilities as good as any, which is not saying much.

9 Andrew Mostad { 10.04.11 at 12:16 pm }

Lantzville has been in the headlines a lot over the last year because of progressive people who are working extremely hard to create a better community. Mr. Haime is not one of those people. I find it hard to believe that the discussion around urban agriculture, in cities or in rural communities, can be elevated by the inclusion of Mr. Haime and his ideas. By all means, talk about the challenges posed by urban agriculture, but do so in an way that isn’t contaminated by the obvious egos and biases present in some of Lantzville’s elected officials.

10 Timothy Hume { 10.04.11 at 3:14 pm }

Farming your own Land

There came a point in my daughter’s young life when after several years of helping tend the family garden plot she decided she wanted to have her own garden.
“That’s great” I said “where do you want to have it”? “Over there” she pointed “I want this space for my garden”. Then she paced off ten big strides turned and paced off another ten. Put a stake in the ground and said with her arms spread wide, “This will be my garden”.
“OK that’s a good place; I’ll get the spade and help you turn it”. With hands firmly on her hips she looked straight at me and said “NO! It’s my garden I will dig it the way I want it done Dad”.
Now let me first say my daughter was six at the time but she was, still is one of those girls that is not afraid to boldly state what it is she wants. She also knows what her rights are and as an equal has little problem insisting on having those right respected.
Her mother and I taught her that and we are proud of her for exercising those rights. It’s her duty and responsibility to speak up for herself. That’s the way I was raised too and I think it is a good way to be in a civilized society like the one we profess to live in.

So my girl, a young woman now with a babe of her own is still gardening and teaching her daughter how to as well.
My daughter does it the way she wants, of that there is no doubt.
Although over the years I see some of my methods are still incorporated into her practices. It is her garden and she will make the way she wants. She does not need my help or my direction.
That actually applies to any and everyone, Mayors, town councils city or provincial agricultural tyrants included.

She now lives in an urban setting in a rather modern subdivision
Here she has transformed her whole yard into a productive garden. There is no space wasted in useless lawn. All the fences are just props for vines and climbing beans.
The point I am attempting to make here is this. Listen to the wisdom of children Learn from them how to respect and honour your word. If I own land I have the right to garden it, farm it manage it in the way I have chosen. It is my space and I do not need your permission. I do not need you to tell me how I can or can not use it to grow food.
It is very simple straight forward No bones about it, take all your city bylaws concerning garden production and shove them.
Stay out of my garden! Stay out of my space!
You may not ever tell me how I shall or if I can garden.
It is my right and I can sell, trade barter anything I produce and I do not need your permission.
Or as my granddaughter now says when she is helping in the garden and you try to tell her how to do the weeding.
She will turn stare you straight in the eye and say
Back off Buster just Back Off!

So that my advice out of the mouths of babes to all you folks that think we need a multitude of regulations, permits or licences. Or all you government agriculture control freaks that think you know how we should garden our own land. Our children now know their rights. I urge everyone that is involved with urban gardening or farming to stand tall, be proud and say NO it is my garden!
Back OFF just Back OFF BUSTER!

Sincerely Timothy Hume