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Category — Canada

Canada’s Environmentalist, David Suzuki: How much food can cities produce?

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David Suzuki is 80 years old. He is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and cofounder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Cities needn’t be wastelands of car-choked roads and pavement. Incorporating food production into ever-expanding urban areas makes cities more livable and enhances the natural systems that keep us alive and healthy.

By David Suzuki
Georgia Straight
Aug 25, 2016

Excerpt:

It’s still possible to grow a lot of food in urban areas, especially with composting and enriched-soil techniques. Ladner writes that Toronto plans to supply 25 percent of its fruit and vegetable production within city limits by 2025, and a study from Michigan State University concluded that Detroit could grow 70 percent of its vegetables and 40 percent of its fruit on 570 vacant lots covering 5,000 acres of city land.

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August 25, 2016   No Comments

Saskatoon, Canada: Inner city farming has its advantages

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Lisa Taylor weeds her garden near King George school in Riversdale in Saskatoon on July 6, 2016. (Michelle Berg / Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

A diverse assortment of flowers, vegetables and herbs grow past Lisa Taylor’s fence line, right to the sidewalk of her cozy Riversdale home.

By Michelle Berg
Saskatoon StarPhoenix
August 18, 2016

Excerpt:

“By growing food in the city, people in the community experience firsthand what growing food looks like and the work and energy that goes into their food before it ends up on their plate,” she says.

This year she has started a new business called Biodivercity Farms. She and her husband, Jason Fege, find creative ways to use smaller spaces within the city to grow produce that is boxed up and delivered to 23 customers each week of the growing season.

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August 25, 2016   No Comments

Vancouver’s YWCA Rooftop Food Garden is Ten Years Old

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It yields 1,500 pounds of fresh, high-quality produce each year

By Sandy Reimer
Director, Health + Fitness & Operations
YWCA Metro Vancouver
Aug 2016

I always feel brightened by my daily visit to the YWCA Rooftop Food Garden, which sits on top of our Health + Fitness Centre, among downtown Vancouver’s office buildings and high rises. The vibrant, sweet-smelling fruits and veggies make me feel closer to the families who benefit from our garden’s abundance.

Ten years into our gardening project, and it’s still hard to believe that this urban treasure, which yields 1,500 pounds of fresh, high-quality produce each year, was once an ornamental garden. And it all grows in just inches of organic soil!

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August 23, 2016   No Comments

Excerpts from Michael Ableman’s book, ‘Street Farm’ (August 2016)

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A Sole Food urban farm in an old Petro-Canada station in Vancouver’s East End. Photo by Agriculture Urbana.

‘People are no easier to recover than the land buried under layers of pavement.’

By Michael Ableman
Earth Island Journal
Aug 17, 2016

Excerpt:

We interrupt harvesting for one of our farm walks, a chance for me to share some techniques or a little philosophy, answer questions, and tell stories. And I realize that even as I am telling stories to make abundance real and visual for folks who may never have experienced it, I am feeling my own doubts and questions about what lies ahead. It feels odd for me standing in this parking lot on a street corner talking about soil microbes, optimal plant spacing, or the life cycle of an aphid. On my rural farm, not far from here, I’d be carrying on similar conversations, but there I’m mentoring young, well-scrubbed kids fresh out of college, most of whom have never known real hardship, all still hopeful and idealistic, too young for life to have slapped them around.

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August 18, 2016   No Comments

Canada: Saskatoon city vegetable farms prove you don’t have to be rural to grow

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Rachel and Jared Regier from Chain Reaction Urban Farm are passionate about sustainability. (Rosalie Woloski/CBC)

The Chain Reaction Urban Farm consists of four city plots including backyards and city boulevards

CBC News
Aug 11, 2016

Excerpt:

Jared and Rachel Regier run the Chain Reaction Urban Farm, which consists of a number of garden plots in backyards and city boulevards.

Organic produce harvested from the plots is then delivered by bicycle to more than 20 families in Saskatoon.

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August 17, 2016   No Comments

Editorial: Bring the farm into the city – Victoria, BC

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1800 Click on image for larger file. Garden of a Florist by Henri de Braekeleer (1840-1888)

Under city bylaws, a portion of a property can be used to produce retail fruits and vegetables, but they can’t be sold on the site. The proposal is to remove that restriction, so backyard farmers could have front-yard produce stands.

Times Colonist
Aug 11, 2016

Excerpt:

“What this would do is allow people to sell the food they’re growing on their property. So for example, at the house I grew up in, we had an apple tree that had so many apples that we could probably only use a tenth of them,” Coun. Jeremy Loveday said. “With these changes, you’d be able to set up a stand and sell them at the front of your property.”

As Loveday suggests, it’s not simply a question of supplementing the family income. It’s a chance to use produce that might otherwise go to waste.

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August 16, 2016   No Comments

Canada: Meet East Vancouver’s original urban farmers

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Like many immigrant Asian seniors, Jason Lee and his wife, Jean, grow a colourful mix of eastern and western crops in their East Van garden. Photo Jennifer Gauthier.

These seniors’ view of urban farming is not the hip and healthy lifestyle many city dwellers have pursued it for.

Christopher Cheung
Vancouver Courier
Aug 10, 2016

Excerpt:

Michaelina Teo has grown produce for many years, from mangoes in Brunei to the Swiss chard at her Renfrew home, but last year was the first time she ever won a prize for the sexiest squash.

The prize was awarded to her by Collingwood Neighbourhood House for its harvest festival. But for the 72-year-old, who likes to be called Mee Mee, the fruits of her labour were always their own reward.

“I’m a very casual gardener,” she said, although she’s known in the neighbourhood for her green thumb.

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August 12, 2016   Comments Off on Canada: Meet East Vancouver’s original urban farmers

Canada: P.E.I. actors who play farmers tackle the real thing

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All in the family: Stephen Guy-McGrath and Eleanor Guy prepare to perform in Anne of Green Gables at the Confederation Centre. (Stephen Guy-McGrath/Facebook)

Matt Campbell and Stephen Guy-McGrath feed fellow thespians from Cecil’s Garden

By Sara Fraser
CBC News
Aug 08, 2016

Excerpt:

Ttephen Guy-McGrath, who plays Cecil the farmer in Anne of Green Gables the Musical at the Confederation Centre, and Matt Campbell, who played the same role two seasons ago, have joined forces to create a micro-business they call Cecil’s Garden. They’ve been growing lettuce, beans, kale, peppers and more in Charlottetown’s Legacy Garden since late May.

“Matt called me in the spring and said ‘Steve, I got this great idea — let’s get a farm!'” recalls Guy-McGrath. “Matt had a kitchen garden last year that I kept raiding.”

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August 12, 2016   Comments Off on Canada: P.E.I. actors who play farmers tackle the real thing

Water Wise workshop at City Farmer

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Click on image for larger file.

Vancouver, BC. August 20, 2016, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

We will show you how to save water in the garden through a hands-on composting workshop, guided tour of the farm and a water wise presentation from the City of Vancouver. The workshop will cover how to prepare and care for a water wise garden, water wise plant choices, and smart ways to conserve water in the garden.

If you are interested in learning about our water and ways to conserve in the garden, this City Farmer workshop has got you covered. Join City Farmers and the City of Vancouver for a water wise workshop on Saturday, August 20! This workshop will show you how to save water in the garden through a hands-on composting workshop, guided tour of the farm, and a water wise presentation from the City of Vancouver. The workshop will run from 10:00am to 11:30am at City Farmer and will cover water wise topics such as:

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August 9, 2016   Comments Off on Water Wise workshop at City Farmer

Farm stands on your street? Victoria, BC, rethinks retail rules

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Mason Street City Farm co-owner Jesse Brown says a Victoria bylaw permitting urban farm stands would allow him to open his farm more directly to the community. Currently, he can legally sell produce only to restaurants and at farmers markets. Photograph By Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist

The proposed bylaw would limit stands to 20 square feet, which she said isn’t appropriate for commercial growers. “It’s a great way for people to share their extra tomatoes with each other, but it’s not a good way to run a business,” she said.

By Amy Smart
Times Colonist
Aug 7, 2016

Excerpt:

The city’s bylaws were changed in 2008 to allow production of fruit and vegetables for retail purposes on a portion of a property. However, no retail sales are allowed from the site.

Under the changes, growers would require a $25 seasonal business licence. They would not need to apply for a development permit to build a stand.

The proposal will go to public hearing on Aug. 25.

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August 8, 2016   Comments Off on Farm stands on your street? Victoria, BC, rethinks retail rules

Toronto’s Elevated Eats atop a Shopping Mall

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Toronto’s newest urban test farm at Yorkdale Shopping Centre! We present Elevated Eats! The goal to elevate food growing education and elevate food choices at local food banks! Photos provided by Frank Ferragine.

Food and Farming
Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance
July 2016

Excerpt:

Elevated Eats will grow more than 30 varieties of seasonal vegetables and fruits, including green beans, cucumbers, swiss chard, eggplant, kale, lettuce, pea shoots, sweet peppers, hot peppers and tomatoes; as well as herbs such as basil, chives, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme.

“We always donate processed food to food banks,” Ferragine shares, “so why not start providing them with fresh choices, elevating food choices for them too?”

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August 4, 2016   Comments Off on Toronto’s Elevated Eats atop a Shopping Mall

Vancouver Gardeners’ Protest – The Arbutus Greenway: Paving Paradise

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Video by Mark Battersby. The Arbutus Greenway: Paving Paradise.

By Ian Bailey
The Globe and Mail
Aug. 02, 2016

Excerpt:

But Adrian Levy, chairman of the Cypress Community Garden, is suspicious about the pavement, suggesting it is likely permanent.

“Temporary? I just can’t see that,” he said, adding he would prefer crushed gravel as is used elsewhere on pathways at some city beaches.

“Even though they say it’s temporary, once that’s there it has started a process.”

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August 3, 2016   Comments Off on Vancouver Gardeners’ Protest – The Arbutus Greenway: Paving Paradise

Arrest of drunken cyclist leads to discovery of likely stolen beets in Nova Scotia

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When Olga McCabe-Cain arrived at her King Street community garden plot in Truro on Wednesday night, around twenty of her beet plants were missing. (Andrew Williams)

Senior won’t let beet incident beat her, plans to continue community gardening

By Nina Corfu,
CBC News
Jul 27, 2016

Excerpt:

Hearing the news coverage about the apparent theft, Truro police Const. Kelly Quinn recalled she had spotted a highly intoxicated cyclist weaving in and out of traffic on Monday.

When she went to arrest him, the man tossed a bag over the Salmon River bridge. That bag was full of beets.

Truro police Chief Dave MacNeil said there’s no way to prove that the recovered beets were stolen.

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August 2, 2016   Comments Off on Arrest of drunken cyclist leads to discovery of likely stolen beets in Nova Scotia

Vancouver Community Gardeners Furious as City Paves Greenway

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Gardeners say that they were never consulted despite promises

By Nadia Stewart
Global News
Sun, Jul 31, 2016

The long term plans for the Arbutus Corridor in Vancouver have yet to be finalized. But we now know what the city’s short-term plan is … and some residents are pretty upset about it.

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August 1, 2016   Comments Off on Vancouver Community Gardeners Furious as City Paves Greenway

City Farmer featured in ‘Sustainable Gardens’ episode – Metro Vancouver TV

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Lynsey Dobbie, Garden Educator, City Farmer/Compost Demonstration Garden

The Sustainable Region TV Series
Episode 7
Metro Vancouver
July 6, 2016

The landscaping at the Annacis Research Centre and the City Farmer Demonstration Garden exemplifies sustainable approaches outlined in Metro Vancouver’s new, online Grow Green Guide. And we look at an herbal alternative to a grass lawn.

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July 31, 2016   Comments Off on City Farmer featured in ‘Sustainable Gardens’ episode – Metro Vancouver TV