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Category — Canada

Urban farming: full-time careers and a farm too

Raena and Rob Blusson balance their careers in Vancouver with farm life in the suburbs. Photo by Kelsey Klassen.

Raena and Rob Blusson both have full-time jobs in Vancouver, yet begin and end each day on their working 10-acre farm in Maple Ridge

Kelsey Klassen
April 9, 2014


For one Vancouver couple, the concept of farm-to-table didn’t exactly translate to dining at Fable a few nights each month.

In 2011, Raena and Rob Blusson made their urban farming dream a reality — purchasing a 10-acre plot of land in Maple Ridge while living and working downtown.

Three years later, the duo now wakes up every morning in Maple Ridge, tends to the animals and chores, and then rides the West Coast Express into the heart of Vancouver to continue their full-time careers in the mining sector.

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April 11, 2014   No Comments

Reclaim Urban Farm in Edmonton, Alberta

Urban farmers Ryan Mason and Cathryn Sprague. Lone Acacia Photography.

Reclaim has approximately 15 plots slated for use during the upcoming season

By Meaghan Baxter
VUE Weekly
March 26, 2014


Sprague and Mason acknowledge securing land—and permission from the city—was a simple task, as many of the land owners are individuals who do not have time to maintain a garden themselves but value the fresh produce that comes with it, or seniors who are no longer physically able to manage the upkeep themselves.

“Our model is really focusing on community as well, so really being able to connect with the land owners and have a relationship with people who own the land as well,” Mason notes, adding a shout out to the land owners, without whom Reclaim wouldn’t exist. “Lots of the land owners have said, ‘I’m interested in learning how to grow food,’ so they’ll be involved in some way, even if it’s just coming and looking over our shoulder every once in a while. It creates immediate relationships and food connections.”

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April 7, 2014   No Comments

The Deerholme Foraging Book


Wild Foods and Recipes from the Pacific Northwest

By Bill Jones
Touchwood Editions
April 2014

The Deerholme Foraging Book is an exploration of the wild foods found in the Pacific Northwest. It is written by award-winning chef and author Bill Jones and features local mushrooms, edible plants, sea vegetables, and shellfish. The book is the product of twenty years of research and professional cooking with foraged foods. It serves as an introduction to the world of wild food and contains identification and sourcing information, harvesting and preparation tips, and more than one hundred delicious recipes featuring many types of wild foods.

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April 5, 2014   No Comments

Lufa Farm is building a third greenhouse in Montreal starting this year

Second Lufa farm in Laval. Lufa Farm’s urban rooftop greenhouse uses state-of-the-art technology and design to use 50 percent less energy than a ground-level greenhouse. See more photos here.

“By the end of 2014, we’re hoping to feed 7,000 people each week in the greater Montreal area.”

by Gerry Weaver
The Produce News
March 27, 2014


“We’re building a third greenhouse in Montreal starting this year. By the end of 2014, we’re hoping to feed 7,000 people each week in the greater Montreal area. We’re planning to deliver to more than 200 locations, including new pick-up points within a 30 mile radius of the farm,” said Figlioli. “Our next Montreal project will allow us to feed an additional 4,000 people year-round, and we are looking to expand to several new cities in the next few years.”

The second greenhouse is 43,000 square feet and located in Laval, Quebec. Lufa Farms, Le Groupe Montoni Division Construction, Inc. of Laval, and KUBO, a greenhouse manufacturing company from the Netherlands, collaborated on the construction.

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April 4, 2014   No Comments

New Vancouver development includes courtyard community garden beds

canvasonniClick on image for larger file.

Canvas will comprise two buildings on either side of a landscaped courtyard with garden plots, a fire pit and a long communal picnic table to encourage socializing.

By Felicity Stone
Vancouver Sun
March 17, 2014


Jensen expects the Canvas homes will appeal to Emily Carr students and faculty, first-time buyers and investors serving the rental market. “The market actually reminds us of a similar buying opportunity on Main at Sixth and Seventh, a project of ours called Social,” he says. “It’s much more affordable than downtown, there’s some opportunities in the market, and just more and more people moving to the neighbourhood.”

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March 25, 2014   Comments Off

Growing Food in the Suburbs: Estimating the Land Potential for Sub-urban Agriculture in Waterloo, Ontario

Suburban backyards in South London. Etching by Anthony Gross (1930’s).

Promotion of urban agriculture could be beneficial in post-war sub-urban neighbourhoods

By Caitlin M. Port, Markus Moos
Planning Practice & Research
Volume 29, Issue 2, 2014
pages 152-170


This study uses Geographic Information System analysis to measure the land potential for urban agriculture in four sub-urban neighbourhoods in Waterloo, Ontario. Findings show that 49–58% of land measured has potential to support urban agriculture. In older post-war sub-urban neighbourhoods, the land potential is primarily in the form of private yards. Contrary, newer sub-urban neighbourhoods, incorporating new urbanist ideals, have smaller yards but more public green space. Challenges and opportunities for urban agriculture will differ between new and older sub-urban areas due to differences in neighbourhood design.

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March 21, 2014   Comments Off

City of Penticton BC not renewing garden license

Garden at Nanaimo Avenue and Backstreet Boulevard. Photo by Deborah Pfeiffer.

“We are not happy with this. We had no indication whatsoever they weren’t satisfied with what we were doing.”

By Deborah Pfeiffer
Mar 7, 2014


Peter Wallace, land administrator for the city, said there was a three year lease that was granted two and a half years ago with the association and that lease expires June 30, 2014.

The association also requested a lease extension and increase in size from .22 acres to .32 acres in the garden, adjacent to a parking lot.

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March 15, 2014   Comments Off

Calgary Community Ale Brews Larger Urban Gardening Conversations

Approximately 1,300 one-litre growlers of Village Gardener Community Involved Ale were brewed last year. Photo credit: Colin Way.

Collaborative ale an example of ‘community at its core’

By Jennifer Neutel
Axiom News
February 25, 2014


Village Brewery gave kegs to the people who had provided hops, which the community association used for a fundraiser event. “It was a nice little endless loop of love,” Jim says.

In January, Village Brewery held a meeting with a diverse group of Calgarians interested in urban gardening and sustainability. Representatives from four community associations were among those in attendance and are looking into getting involved and providing hops this year.

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March 6, 2014   Comments Off

Truro, Nova Scotia Men’s Clubs Grow Produce for Food Bank

Pictured in last year’s garden include, from left, Old Barns Men’s Club members Garry Matthews and Gordie Miller, and Knights of Columbus members Joey Hurley, John Heukshorst and Alden Forbes.

Over the span of two decades, two men’s groups have come together to help grow and harvest more than 200,000 pounds of fresh produce for the local food bank.

By R Tetanish
Truro Daily News
Feb 25, 2014

“For me, it’s to watch the crops grow and to get a decent crop out of it,” said John Heukshorst, a Knights of Columbus member who instigated the project in 1990 that benefits the Colchester Food Bank. “My parents immigrated here from the Netherlands when I was 11. I would hear stories about the days when my mother and father went through the war years. My mother always told me about people coming from the city in droves to buy grain from my father. That always stuck with me.”

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March 5, 2014   Comments Off

Vancouver’s TreeKeepers program wants to become the biggest collective urban orchard in North America

The trees, all on dwarf root stock, are heavily discounted at only $10 each

Apples: Ginger Gold Apple, Liberty Apple, Cameo Apple, Red Jonaprince Apple, Crimson Gala Apple

Plums: Santa Rosa Plum, Early Italian Plum,

Figs: Brown Turkey Fig, Desert King Fig, Peter’s Honey Fig

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March 4, 2014   Comments Off

Alberta City of Airdrie releases findings of citizen report on urban agriculture


The report indicated high levels of support for urban agriculture initiatives on public lands and City-owned spaces, and lower levels of support for initiatives on private property.

By Sara Wilson
Airdrie City View
Feb 20, 2014


Residential support for City-operated community gardens came in at 94.3 per cent in favour, rooftop gardens received 88.6 per cent support, edible landscaping garnered 85 per cent approval rating and beehives on public lands received 57.9 per cent approval. The report indicated residents support for private/backyards were slightly lower at 81.6 per cent for front yard edible gardens, backyard hens received less support at 57.1 per cent and backyard bees just garnering 50.7 per cent support.

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February 27, 2014   Comments Off

12th and final “Meet your Vancouver Urban Farmer” – Jordan from Southlands Heritage Farm.

Support your local urban farmers (and local rural farmers of course), and know where your food comes from.

By Vita Mavronicolas, Digital Storyteller
Shaun Mavronicolas
Fire and Light Media Group
July, 2013

Southlands Heritage Farm is a unique nature and agricultural reserve in Vancouver that most people are surprised to learn exists! They offer a number of camps, programs and workshops for youth right in the city as well as a weekly farmers market.

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February 26, 2014   Comments Off

Community gardens taking off in Regina, Saskatchewan

Colleen Murphy cleans up her plot at the Grow Regina community gardens at 3500 Queen St. in Regina, Sask. on Sept. 22, 2013. Photograph by: Michael Bell, Regina Leader-Post.

Grow Regina’s Queen Street community garden sold out 280 garden plots in 2013

By Rikkeal Bohmann,
February 7, 2014


Community gardens have even appeared on university campuses.

The University of Regina has three community gardens, which form Regina’s Edible Campus. The First Nations University Shared Garden was established in 2006. Le Potager and the Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG) Green Patch followed later on.

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February 15, 2014   Comments Off

The Market Gardener


A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming

By Jean-Martin Fortier
New Society Publishers
March 2014

Les Jardins de la Grelinette is a micro-farm located in Eastern Quebec, just north of the American border. Growing on just 1.5 acres, owners Jean-Martin and Maude-Helene feed more than 200 families through their thriving CSA and seasonal market stands and supply their signature mesclun salad mix to dozens of local establishments. The secret of their success is the low-tech, high-yield production methods they’ve developed by focusing on growing better rather than growing bigger, making their operation more lucrative and viable in the process.

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February 3, 2014   Comments Off

1939 Community Garden in Vancouver, BC: Good-Will Flourishes in Farmer-Citizens’ ‘Field’

filedspicsA back-to-the-land movement that has worked successfully for the past seven years is the Hastings East Community Farm, shown above. Upper left, a few of the 86 farmer-citizens who cultivate the eight-acre farm are shown in front of their tool-shed and meeting place. Upper right, Bill Graw, youngest member of the “field,” weeds a flower bed. Middle left, Wendell Bauman, who learned to farm near Odessa, stands among some of the farm’s seed rye. Next, Alex Devito, a native of Italy, shows off his prized garden peas. Middle right, Devito happily hoes his garden patch. Lower left, Y. Radonich, Montenegran, is shown working in his promising corn patch, while right, “Charlie” Mictchell, 76, oldest member of the “Field,” hoes his potatoes with the assistance of Bert Perfitt. Click on image for larger version.

Community Farmers Find Health, Happiness in Garden Project 4 Miles City’s Centre

By Ken Grant
Vancouver Sun
July 8, 1939

On a sunny slope four miles from the heart of Vancouver’s business section, 86 tanned farmer citizens are quietly working out their own back-to-the-land scheme for adding fresh vegetables to their none-too-large incomes or relief allowances.

Their eight acres of land adjoining the Old People’s Home are officially referred to as the Hastings East Community Farm, but to the 80 odd families who have taken part in the scheme for the past seven years, the land is simply known as “The Field.”

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January 21, 2014   Comments Off