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Category — Canada

New rules aim to help Edmonton’s urban agriculture businesses bloom

Cathryn Sprague discusses how the proposed zoning amendments will help urban agriculture, and why increasing urban agriculture is important in Edmonton. Video by Greg Southam here.

An online city survey last summer found 92 per cent of the more than 1,000 respondents supported commercial urban agriculture. About 80 per cent would allow crops on vacant lots and limited on-site sales.

By Gordon Kent
Edmonton Journal
April 6, 2015


The new zoning rules clarify that urban agriculture operations can exist in most parts of the city, although in some areas neighbours would be able to oppose the move.

Vacant lots could be cropped with city approval.

These small-scale farmers would also be able to obtain permits to sell their produce on-site, which isn’t currently allowed.

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April 16, 2015   No Comments

Vancouver Parks ‘field houses’ eyed for urban farming

fieldhField house in a Vancouver park.

Vancouver Park Board is considering turning field houses at various city parks into farmhouses.

By Michael Mui
24 Hours Vancouver
April 12, 2015


Vancouver Park Board is considering turning field houses at various city parks — outfitted with caretakers’ suite, washroom facilities and sometimes concession booths — into urban farmhouses operated by city farming groups.

The 75 houses had traditionally provided live-in accommodations for park caretakers, but their uses today have shifted towards things like artists spaces, environment residences, storage for sports organizations, as some examples.

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April 13, 2015   No Comments

Urban farmers at ‘Grow Calgary’ tap into a different kind of cornucopia

In preparation for this year’s farming season, volunteers help to clean Grow Calgary, Canada’s largest urban agriculture farm. The produce grown on the land is given to Calgary interfaith Food Bank to provide food to vulnerable Calgarians. Photo by Melissa Renwick.

“Our vision is to create a sustainable and resilient food system for the Calgary region,”

By Justin Giovannetti
The Globe and Mail
Apr. 03 2015


Canada’s largest urban farm doesn’t even have enough money to erect a sign explaining to passing motorists what they’re seeing off Calgary’s ring road.

Three years ago, the 11-acre plot was a rock-strewn field in the shadow of facilities left over from the 1988 Winter Olympics. Since then, volunteers have tilled the ground and sent all that they’ve pulled from the dirt to food banks.

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April 12, 2015   No Comments

McGill University’s Montreal campus opens community garden


For the nominal fee of $40, people can buy a “plot” consisting of four plastic planting containers.

By Neale McDevitt
McGill Reporter
Apr 2, 2015


Since its inception, the Edible Campus garden has supplied thousands of kilograms of fresh produce to several Santropol projects, including its meals-on-wheels initiative that provides fresh, healthy food to Montrealers with limited mobility. But having expanded growing operations to a large farm in Senneville, it was decided that the McGill garden could be opened to the University clientele.

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April 11, 2015   No Comments

Backyard plastic bubble in Greater Vancouver is Canada’s first biodome

Tom Colclough is growing about 6,000 strawberry plants hydroponically on his Surrey farm in an agricultural biodome. Photograph by: Ric Ernst.

Climate-controlled domes touted as a local food solution for remote communities

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
April 1, 2015


The 3,000-square-foot plastic bubble in Tom Colclough’s Surrey yard is packed with 6,000 strawberry plants that require no soil and use one-tenth the water of conventional farming.

Canada’s first agricultural “biodome” is made from air-tight layers of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a plastic film that weighs 99-per-cent less than glass and naturally disperses light within the dome, creating an ideal environment for vertical hydroponic growing systems, said designer Colclough.

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April 2, 2015   Comments Off

Canadian Institutions Supported ‘City Farmer’ in Formative Years

City Farmer poster created by Environment Canada.

City Farmer’s Funding Sources 1978 – 1984

By Michael Levenston
Executive Director
City Farmer
March 27, 2015

Looking back to the beginning of our ‘activist’ non-profit society, we see that many funding agencies took a chance with our ideas and gave us money. Rather than urban agriculture being seen as something threatening, all levels of government and many independent funding bodies encouraged it. The dollar amounts were not large but they sustained us and allowed us to do our work without interference.

City Farmer held courses at the University of British Columbia, (later our website was also hosted by the University); we were leased a large portion of land belonging to the Vancouver Park Board for a community garden; our Demonstration Food Garden is on City of Vancouver land; our initial funding came from the Federal Ministry of Energy, Mines and Resources; other Ministries such as Employment & Immigration Canada and Secretary of State of Canada also funded us; Environment Canada produced our large colour poster; the private sector funding included MacMillan Bloedel Ltd., Gulf Canada Ltd. and TD Bank; and major independent funders such as the Vancouver Foundation, the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation, and the McLean Foundation came through for us.

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March 28, 2015   Comments Off

Community Gardener finds 1984 Harrowsmith Magazine with article about City Farmer

harrowsmith1984012Cover of 1984 issue.

Red Celery in the Sunshine talks about setting up City Farmer’s gardens in the backyard of the Vancouver Energy Information Centre, near Maple Street and Sixth Avenue … where it still is!!”

By Maureen Temme
Webkeeper: Community Gardens London, Ontario
March 25, 2015

Excerpts from her blog “Saving the world in my spare time”:

Now, if you follow these columns, you’ll have heard me mention – thank – Michael Levenston for articles I’ve run across on his site City Farmer. City Farmer must surely be Canada’s longest running urban agriculture website, and even non-profit (1978!): City Farmer, Canada’s Office of Urban Agriculture.

The article I just ran across is titled Red Celery in the Sunshine, and is from Harrowsmith, April/May 1984.

The article talks about urban agriculture, biodynamics, food in the community, the importance of living soil, volunteers … all the things some of us are trying to get across to some people today!

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March 26, 2015   Comments Off

City Farmer’s Cob Shed with Green Roof is 12 Years Old



The outside layer of clay belonged to famous Haida artist Bill Reid

Sculptor, George Rammell, donated Haida artist Bill Reid’s clay. “The clay I provided belonged to Haida artist Bill Reid. It provided the form for many of Bill’s sculpture projects including the “Whale” at the aquarium, and the huge bronze “Spirit Canoe” at the Vancouver airport. I also used it for my bear track project where I had a Grizzly Bear walk over 15 meters of clay from which I cast the event. It’s great to know this clay, that has such a history on the Coast, now forms the surfaces on your project.”

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March 22, 2015   Comments Off

City Farmer’s Introduction to Organic Food Gardening


Learn how to grow your own vegetables in an urban environment

City Farmer’s hands on organic food gardening course includes:

Site planning/design/soil preparation
Choice of seeds-plants/starting seeds
Companion-succession planting/harvesting/composting
Organic gardening techniques/natural pest control/bugs
Container gardening
Waterwise gardening
Birds and mammals in the garden

$50. CALL TO REGISTER: 604.736-2250

Still two classes left.

Introduction to Organic Food Gardening
Saturdays 9:30am-1pm in March 21, 28, 2015

Course Instructor: Sharon Slack, Head Gardener, City Farmer

Location: Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden
2150 Maple Street at 6th Avenue in Kitsilano

March 19, 2015   Comments Off

City Farmer’s Gardening Workshops for Children


Workshops held at the Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden in Kitsilano

Are you keen for your children to grow up with an appreciation of nature? City Farmer’s gardening workshops will give kids hands-on learning at our organic demonstration garden in Kitsilano. Children will learn about the lifecycle of the garden in six workshops running from Spring to Fall:


Sunday May 10th – Spring Planting
Sunday June 7th – Worms in the Garden
Sunday July 5th – Bugs and Bees
Sunday August 9th – Flowers
Sunday Sept 13th – Fall Harvesting
Sunday October 4th – Putting the Garden to Bed and Seed Saving

Workshops run from 9.30am – 11.00am.

$20 per workshop or $100 for all six.

Contact City Farmer at 604 736 2250 to register.

Click on image for larger file.

March 19, 2015   Comments Off

Thunder Bay, Ontario Food Strategy looking for potential urban agriculture projects

Thunder Bay Food Strategy coordinator Kendal Donahue says they are looking for public input on potential locations for urban agriculture projects.Photo Jodi Lundmark,

“Cities are growing food on boulevards. They’re growing food on rooftops.”

By Jodi Lundmark,
Mar 4, 2015


Anyone with an idea of an area in their neighbourhood that could be turned into a community garden, a pollination corridor or a compost system can submit their idea online by April 1.

“The food strategy is about building up community resilience in terms of local food systems,” said Donahue, adding they want people to start thinking differently about where a new project could go or where they could add on to an existing community garden.

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March 12, 2015   Comments Off

Conference: ‘Exploring the Economics of Urban Agriculture and Resilience’


‘Grey to Green’ – Toronto, Ontario – June 1,2 2015

Steven Peck, GRP, Hon. ASLA
Founder and President
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

It will be three years since the highly successful Urban Agriculture Summit in Toronto and many new developments in the field have taken place across North America and around the world. On June 1-2, 2015, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities will be hosting Grey to Green in Toronto – with a focus on local and regional food systems and resilience.

Some of the leading-edge issues and developments that will be discussed at Grey to Green in 2015 include the following:

Designing for food and the bottom line – how designing buildings with food production in mind can reduce costs, generate improved rents, increase property value and improve employee efficiency.

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March 7, 2015   Comments Off

Vancouver’s parks allow food production, including fruit and nut orchards and beekeeping

The Oak Meadows Park pollinator garden at West 37th and Oak is home to a pollinator hotel (pictured), made from a retired phone booth. The centrepiece of this pollinator’s paradise, the hotel is filled with tubes, nooks and crannies attractive to insects. The 1,500-square-foot pollinator garden is part of a network of bee-friendly biodiversity that extends into VanDusen Gardens. Photograph by: Jason Payne, VANCOUVER SUN

At the Beaconsfield Community Garden there are plans to build an outdoor bread oven.

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
Feb 25, 2015


Vancouver’s oldest park-based community garden is also one of its biggest, at 3.3 acres. Strathcona Community Garden was created in 1985, divided into one-third allotment gardens, one-third natural plant and animal habitat and the balance is a unique espalier fruit orchard. The site features the Eco-Pavilion meeting space, greenhouse and beehives.

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March 5, 2015   Comments Off

7E Edition De L’école D’été Sur L’agriculture Urbaine


Une 7e édition pour ce qui est plus qu’une semaine de formation : un lieu de réseautage, de discussion, de transformation…

1 thème : économie circulaire et agriculture urbaine / 5 volets de formation

Pour une 7e édition, du 10 au 14 août 2014, se tiendra à l’Université du Québec à Montréal, l’École d’été sur l’agriculture urbaine du Laboratoire d’agriculture urbaine (AU/LAB) et du Collectif de recherche en aménagement paysager et agriculture urbaine durable (CRAPAUD).

Cet événement, organisé avec la collaboration de l’Institut des sciences de l’environnement de l’UQÀM (ISE), réunit chaque année près de 200 participant(e)s issu(e)s de l’ensemble du Québec et de la Francophonie pour 5 jours de formation intensive s’articulant autour d’un apprentissage à la fois théorique et pratique.

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March 4, 2015   Comments Off

Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) destroys hundreds of beautiful community gardens in Vancouver

Gardens gone. Photos by Michael Levenston.

Bulldozers, backhoes, weed wackers, chainsaws and shovels destroy a city treasure

Michael Levenston
City Farmer
March 3, 2015

Since the 1980’s, neighbours have built award winning community gardens along the abandoned railway line running through Kitsilano. In just a few days, this past week, Maple Community Garden, Cypress Community Garden, Pine Street Gardens and Fir Street Garden have been bulldozed, leaving a tiny strip of broken plots along the city boulevard. Trees, shrubs and plants purchased over the past 30 years are gone. The CPR crews have flattened the landscape and left a barren wasteland. CPR will replace the natural beauty created by neighbours, with parked railcars covered with graffiti.

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March 3, 2015   Comments Off