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Category — Canada

Cows in your Backyard? The challenges and opportunities of near urban agriculture

Painting bycCarrie Marill.

Only five per cent of Ontario’s land base is suitable for farming and we are losing agriculturally productive land at an alarming rate. According to Statistics Canada, we lost 260,000 hectares of farmland between 2006 and 2011. Our food security depends on us protecting farmlands for future generations.

Greenbelt Program Manager
Environmental Defence
Nov 18, 2014


Consider the case of Vaughan resident and farm owner Gilllian Evans. Located in the Greenbelt, Gill’s family farm has been in the family for generations. The farm is right next door, to a proposed housing development. The development includes land within the Greenbelt but as the development application pre-dated the Greenbelt legislation it can go ahead. Gill has been trying to gain support from Vaughan Council to provide buffers between the new housing development and her existing farm.

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November 26, 2014   No Comments

Concordia University Greenhouses Provide Students with a Year-Round Urban Refuge


Sprouting Green Thumbs on Campus

By Jessica Cabana
The Link
November 18, 2014


Since the Concordia Greenhouse focuses on urban sustainability and community building and raising awareness of the issues surrounding food security, the new greenhouse would focus on food production and urban agriculture.

Summer is the best growing season in Montreal and, to maximize growth production, seedlings can be started in greenhouses.

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November 25, 2014   No Comments

Canada’s largest urban farm feeds the needy

Our future is growing right in your backyard

Alberta Primetime
Nov 2014

On an 11-acre parcel of land just west of Canada Olympic Park, a group of dedicated volunteers turned the soil and harvested the first crop on Canada’s largest urban agricultural farm. Our goal is to grow fresh produce for the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank to ensure all Calgarians have access to healthy, local food.

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November 24, 2014   No Comments

Twins who keep urban chickens score wins at Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Matthew Patel, left, holds a Light Sussex, and twin brother Andrew holds a Red Dorking in the backyard of their Leaside home. They got into the backyard chicken business a few years back — and this year they exhibited 17 chickens at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair — scoring a number of wins. Photo by David Cooper.

Andrew and Matthew Patel have an unusual hobby – they are backyard chicken farmers

By: Vanessa Lu Business
Vancouver Sun
Nov 15 2014


“It was the most amazing thing ever,” said Andrew, who has become an advocate for the underground chicken farming movement. “We didn’t expect to win anything,” added Matthew, in a fast-paced interview where the twins finish each other’s sentences.

They had been to the fair for the last few years, fascinated by the poultry competition, but decided this year was their last chance because they are planning to head off to university next fall.

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November 22, 2014   No Comments

Montreal cubic farmer aims to grow 500 heads of lettuce a year in a single square foot

Richard Groome, president and CEO of Les Aliments Urban Barns Inc., shows his Cubic Farming facility in Mirabel, Quebec. Photo by Christinne Muschi for National Post.

Where ‘Star Trek meets farming’


Urban Barns, opened this past June, is home to the first realized cubic farm from which, it is expected, as many as 500 heads of lettuce will grow each year from a single square foot of industrial space. It takes less than 30 days to grow a head of greens here, where conditions are always optimum. The produce is organic, and pesticide, herbicide and fungicide-free and if the playbook is followed, they will be picked and, within hours, be on a shelf at a nearby IGA.

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November 21, 2014   No Comments

“Just Eat It” – Watch full movie on-line!

See the full movie here.

Have you ever fed your grandmother food from a dumpster?

Knowledge Network
75 minutes, 2014

Jen Rustemeyer has. She and her life/business partner, Grant Baldwin, have spent the last few years wading through garbage – sometimes literally, but also in a broader philosophical sort of way.

In their first documentary, The Clean Bin Project, the B.C. couple committed to living as waste-free as possible for one year, to buying no more landfill-bound stuff. This idea resonated with people. Rustemeyer and Baldwin were invited to schools to complete waste audits and were blown away by how much perfectly good food was being tossed in a country where 1 in 10 people is food insecure.

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November 16, 2014   No Comments

Rooftop greenhouse in northern British Columbia community of Hazelton

hazelThe building that houses the Skeena Bakery and Cleaner’s Laundromat with the greenhouse on its roof (photo: Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, SWCC)

The SWCC hopes that the greenhouse will soon be able to produce food year round with the installation of a heat recovery system.

By Lauren Robert
Nov 2, 2014


Despite its young roots, the Skeena Garden Project has seen great success and has become a great asset to the community – “At our open house in June, we had over 200 people come out to tour the Greenhouse and to sample our “solar chili” made with greenhouse tomatoes in our solar-cooker that the group built themselves!” exclaimed Greg Horne, Skeena Energy Solutions Coordinator. The 15 beds of the greenhouse are filled with a variety of vegetables including: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, corn, zucchini, and squash, among many others.

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November 14, 2014   No Comments

‘City Farmer News’ Celebrates 20 Years On-line

Country count on the original City Farmer web site.

This web site began in October 1994 as ‘Urban Agriculture Notes’

By Michael Levenston
Editor of City Farmer News
Nov 14, 2014

Watching life on the Internet, or as local Vancouver writer William Gibson named it, ‘Cyberspace’, has been our modern habit for approximately a quarter century.

In 1994 City Farmer Society began to connect with people across the globe via the ‘World Wide Web’ to share their stories about growing food in the city.

We originally started this news service on paper in 1978 by producing an eight page tabloid. But that couldn’t compare with the ease and global reach of the wired Net. Stories sent in at 1AM were re-circulated to a global audience by 1:15AM.

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November 14, 2014   No Comments

City Farmer’s Cream of the Crop Pollinator Ale


Celebrate Compost!

November 10, 2014

Here at the Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden we take our craft seriously. Compost is what powers us, and this year we wanted to celebrate the fruits of our labours in a ‘Home Grown Brew’ kind of way.

We acquired some locally sourced hop rhizomes and created a large container garden, which we filled with a combination of our own backyard compost, vermi-compost and municipal made compost. The beautiful lantern-like cones and the tallness of the trellised hop plants surprised visitors and they were a wonderful addition to our garden tours.

The current booming Pacific North West Craft Beer industry has made people ‘hop aware’ and excited about ‘do-it-yourself’ signature beer.

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November 10, 2014   Comments Off

Kelowna Fruit Tree Project brings in more than 36,000 pounds of food from backyards

Casey Hamilton: ‘ We have so many apples right now we can’t give them away.’

About 30 per cent of the fruit is split between the volunteers and homeowners

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
Nov 8, 2014


The Okanagan is the most productive fruit- growing region in Canada, and what began as a committee of the Central Okanagan Food Policy Council quickly took on a life of its own. Hamilton organized 85 picks this season, in backyards and a handful of orchards, exceeding the project’s goal of 25,000 pounds of fruit by more than 10,000 pounds.

In just three years, the organization has grown to more than 400 volunteers in Kelowna and Penticton, some of them the very people the fresh fruit was meant to benefit, including people with developmental disabilities and people transitioning from street life.

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November 9, 2014   Comments Off

New Vancouver Community Garden in SE False Creek

Photos By Michael Levenston. Click on image for larger file.

By Chris Reid
Shifting Growth
Nov 3, 2014

The new Southeast False Creek Temporary Community Garden is up and running with 222 community garden beds and seating for the emerging False Creek community. This space is temporarily being used as a community garden for local community members to grow food. The garden will last (likely) for 2 years and we’ll keep everyone posted about the garden timelines.

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November 3, 2014   Comments Off

Vancouver’s FoodGROWS offers farming solutions geared to windows, patios and balconies

FoodGROWS offers a variety of low-tech and high-tech solutions for confined urban spaces.

Garden shop occupies a tiny niche in the urban landscape

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
November 2, 2014

Excerpt: is designed to occupy a niche not well served by garden suppliers or serious back-to-the-land outfitters. The website even has a 10-question entry point that helps guide new customers to the products best suited to their space and temperament.

Products range from low-tech wooden planters and wall-mounted pouch planters to high-tech plastic tower gardens for balconies and rooftops and soil-free growing systems, including a tabletop aquaponic herb planter with an aquarium base (goldfish not included).

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November 3, 2014   Comments Off

Calgary earthship greenhouse gives urban farm a year-long harvest

calgreeScott Davidson works on his earthship greenhouse, a project on the Grow Calgary lot that will provide the Calgary Food Bank with fresh fruits and vegetables year-round.

There’s a group on the Grow Calgary urban farming lot taking growing in the city to an unimaginable level: 365 days a year

By Helen Pike
Oct 23, 2014


This build will have two greenhouse spaces, one which will have a steady more-tropical temperature and the second greenhouse will house the Alberta-indigenous crops that can take the climate’s fluctuating temperatures.

Davidson broke ground on the project in June, and has been working with five to 10 volunteers ever since. He hopes to finish the project in December and start growing in the new year.

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October 31, 2014   Comments Off

Toronto/Parkdale urban farming project should be expanded

Eugene Hennie and Amy Ness show off some of the vegetables they have grown in the Co-Op Cred garden in Parkdale.

An innovative project is a win-win for the disadvantaged: it provides work for the unemployed and produce for the local food bank.

By Catherine Porter
Toronto Star
October 19, 2014


Eugene Hennie rushed between the towering buildings of South Parkdale, Amy Ness and me trailing behind.

He had an important meeting to go to.

I’d have to visit the garden quick.

Their Thanksgiving harvest was more than a week ago. These were the hardy fall leftovers — some straggly eggplants, a few overgrown Brussels sprouts.

“You should have seen it two weeks ago,” Hennie said breathlessly. “There were tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers. Oh, it was beautiful. Seeing those plants grow from seed — it was like I was growing.”

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October 25, 2014   Comments Off

Joel Salatin speaks about ‘nook and cranny farming’ in Langley Township, Greater Vancouver

Joel Salatin will be sharing his knowledge about small lot and sustainable farming at a workshop in Langley on Nov. 8. Photograph by: Screengrab, Food Inc.

Langley Township is unique among the Metro Vancouver communities: It has more farmland than any of the Metro cities, with 75 per cent of its area in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

By Glenda Luymes
The Province
October 11, 2014


The event follows on the heels of a successful workshop on small-lot agriculture and is aimed at generating production on some of Langley’s un-farmed land, said LSAF director Karen Taylor.

Langley Township is unique among the Metro Vancouver communities: It has more farmland than any of the Metro cities, with 75 per cent of its area in the Agricultural Land Reserve. But unlike ag-giants Abbotsford and Chilliwack, 73 per cent of Langley’s land is in parcels smaller than 10 acres. Only 55 per cent of the city’s ALR land is farmed.

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October 12, 2014   Comments Off