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Category — City Farmer

Readers from 214 countries visited ‘City Farmer News’ in 2014


Most visitors were from the United States with Canada and India not far behind.

Jet Pack Stats
December 2014


India: 28,191

Iceland: 105

Saudi Arabia: 778

Ethiopia: 634

Brazil: 1,614

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December 31, 2014   Comments Off

Gardens grow another day on the Arbutus Corridor in Vancouver

Co-op residents’ community gardens destroyed by CPR.

“The gardeners that I knew whose gardens were destroyed in the first round-up around Marine Drive lived in co-ops.”

By Katie Hyslop
Magaphone Magazine
December 2014


“There really isn’t a need for a railway to go through this area that they’ve made us aware of,” Levenston says of CPR. “But there’s a huge need for green space in this city as the city grows busier and busier, as the price of houses goes up, as people lose their gardens as [they] move into high rises. This [the Arbutus Corridor] is a gem.”

Levenston adds losing the green space of the corridor would be akin to losing half of Stanley Park. Instead of selling the land back to the city, he maintains CPR should donate it back to the people of Vancouver.

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December 9, 2014   Comments Off

‘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   Comments Off

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

Science World staff visit City Farmer’s garden in Vancouver

Head gardener Sharon Slack shows visitors the cold frame full of seedlings which will be harvested later this winter.

“We’re even more excited to have City Farmer here at the end of the month as part of our Around the Dome Science Festival”

By Lyndsay Fraser
Science World Blog
Oct 21, 2014


First thing in the morning we jumped on our bikes and pedaled to our first stop of the day, City Farmer’s Compost Demonstration Garden. For 36 years, City Farmer has encouraged urban dwellers to develop their own green thumbs. It’s the perfect place to visit if you’re curious about composting at home or want to get inspired about growing your own food.

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October 21, 2014   Comments Off

‘City Farmer’ featured on Easy Organic Gardener Radio Show

Listen here to archived recording.

With host Sheri Frey

Guest Michael Levenston
June 22, 2014

About Sheri:
Since 1979 Sheri has been co-owner and vice president of ARBICO Organics. ARBICO Organics produces and markets organic and natural products for home, business, garden, lawn, farm and pets. Products include beneficial insects and organisms, fertilizers and soil amendments, weed and disease controls, composting supplies, insecticides, critter controls, horse care, traps, lures, pheromones, botanicals and more.

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June 23, 2014   Comments Off

‘Lonely Planet Vancouver’ features ‘Vancouver’s Compost Demonstration Garden’ in latest edition


6th Edition of the ‘Vancouver Lonely Planet’

By John Lee
Lonely Planet
Release Date: Feb. 1 2014

City Farmer Society has managed the Compost Garden at 2150 Maple Street since 1981 when it began as a demonstration organic food garden. Since then we have welcomed many thousands of visitors. Our latest project is a ‘Climate Change Adaptation Garden’ on the site. (Mike)

Excerpt from Lonely Planet guidebook:

“Don’t be put off by the name: this verdant city garden is an oasis among the backstreets of Kits. A rustic plot with a cob shed, compost toilet and wild and cultivated areas of flowers and vegetables, it’s a great place for gardeners to visit.

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February 20, 2014   Comments Off

Container Concept Design for City Farmer Society in Vancouver, BC

Click image to see larger file.

“Every year there are at least 1.4 million shipping containers sent back to Asia to be recycled.”

Designed by Keith Dewey for City Farmer Society
Owner, Designer of
Victoria, BC. June, 2013

Excerpt from Zigloo: is a design house that is leading the way in custom design with a difference. The difference is finding sustainable solutions to building technologies, especially in the use of shipping containers as architectural building blocks. The benefits of which are lowering our carbon footprint, saving our forests and doing it affordably.

Zigloo domestique is a prototype concept that has led to a number of CargoSpace Living projects throughout North America. Keith Dewey (owner of created zigloo domestique as a show home to entice people to think differently about the way we live and to demonstrate that living sustainably doesn’t mean “living without”.

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October 8, 2013   Comments Off

Explosive growth of Vancouver’s urban gardens prompts confrontations

Emi Do (foreground) and friends tend their urban farm on 41st Avenue in Vancouver on Aug. 6, 2013. Left to right, Lauren McIndoe, Jennifer van den Brink, Mert Kecik, Luna Hallam. Photograph by Wayne Leidenfrost, Vancouver Sun.

Garden plots and urban farms raises issues about taxes, policy and getting along with neighbours

By Mike Hager And Jeff Lee
Vancouver Sun
August 6, 2013


Now, the development of new urban farms — a reversal of the history of cities which once squeezed out small market farms as neighbourhoods expanded — has also created the need for new rules. No policies exist for how urban farms can operate. In Vancouver, there’s not even such a thing as a business licence for urban farms.

Reimer said a report to council this fall may help resolve conflicts between urban farmers and neighbours. “There are all kinds of issues, from tenure of land to how long you can stay to how you operate it without negatively affecting your neighbours,” Reimer said. “If you are going to run an urban farm, you need some security.”

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August 7, 2013   Comments Off

35 years ago ‘City Farmer’ began out of an interest in energy use in the food system

BobMike1979CF copy
‘In olden days’- 1979 – Photo of Michael Levenston and Bob Woodsworth working on an issue of City Farmer newspaper. Before the Internet, we sent written copy to a typesetter, then cut and pasted stories and black and white photos onto lay-out pages and waited for the printer to deliver our publication. Finally we drove about the city delivering copies to stores or we mailed them to subscribers.

‘City Farmer’ was born in 1978 at the Vancouver Community Conservation Centre (VCCC), a six-month project created by Canada’s Federal Ministry of Mines, Energy and Resources

Project Final Report about the VCCC
Report written by Dana Weber, project leader of the Vancouver Centre.
September 8, 1978
(Mike: ‘City Farmer’ related topics are marked in bold. Note that before ‘carbon neutral’, ‘greenhouse gas emissions’, ‘climate change’, and ‘carbon offsets’, environmentalists spent a great deal of time promoting ‘energy conservation’.)

A. Publicity and Public Information

The type of publicity and public information we used on our project falls into two general categories–that involving use of existing media (and its ‘use’ of us), and that involving the development of our own media. Following are examples of the first type:

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August 4, 2013   Comments Off

‘City Farmer News’ listed as one of top 20 International Urban Planning Websites 2013


Where Urban Planners Go – List includes ‘American Planning Association’, ‘Un-Habitat’ and ‘Urban Land Institute’

By Robert Poole
Global Site Plans
July 1, 2013


Last year, The Grid went on a mission to uncover the most popular urban planning-related websites for 2012. With extensive research and the help of Alexa International Rankings, we were able to compile a list of the top 20 websites for this specific niche. It is time for an update. In the list for 2013 we see a few familiar names made it back, with some moving up the ranking and others moving down, as well as some completely new sites, including Grist, Blueprint America, Newgeography and Untapped Cities.

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July 1, 2013   Comments Off

Sharing backyards: a popular Canadian innovation in urban farming

Sharing Backyards map. More and more people want to share a garden in Vancouver.

“Urban agriculture is united by the idea that the urban person can produce something they eat, not just consume.”

By Gilda Salomone
Radio Canada International
21 June, 2013


Sharing backyards, a pioneering project that connects homeowners who have a yard with people who want to grow food, but have no land, is spreading across Canada and abroad.

“It’s something like Craigslist,” says Michael Levenston, executive director of the City Farmer Society, a nonprofit group in Vancouver, B.C.

Users have access to a website and a map of the city. Locations where owners are willing to share their private garden and where gardeners are eager to cultivate somebody else’s yard are indicated.

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June 21, 2013   Comments Off

Hobby gardeners in Vancouver are finding their patches of green in shared spaces

Interview begins at minute 14:20

Interview about ‘Sharing Backyards’ in Vancouver BC

By Jodie Martinson
Monocle – The Urbanist about the cities we live in
Episode 75
21 Mar 2013

Jodie Martinson speaks with gardener Stephanie Hodges about her experiences with shared garden space. Sharing Backyards Vancouver is a City Farmer project.

This Urbanist episode: “Share deal: a special episode looking at car sharing, office sharing, table sharing, and mingling in cities around the world.”

Listen to the show here. Go to minute 14:20 for the sharing gardens interview.

March 26, 2013   Comments Off

Vancouver Compost Garden promotes City’s worm composting program

Mike Levenston, City Farmer executive director, displays a worm bin he encourages condo dwellers to use to recycle food scraps. Photo by Sharon Slack.

Stratas face extra cost, odours with food scraps

By Chris Campbell
24 hours
March 20, 2013

A local composting advocate hopes strata residents will take a lead in the transition to recycling food scraps in multi-family buildings by 2015.

Under new City of Vancouver rules, stratas face penalties if they don’t have programs up and running by then, said Mike Levenston, executive director of City Farmer, which runs the region’s compost hotline and offers recycling workshops.

“All these organics have to be recycled and there are easy ways to do it,” he said. “We’re here to help people get organized.”

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March 21, 2013   Comments Off

City Farmer’s Sharon Slack is also a street gardener

Sharon Slack in her ‘Bulge’ garden.

Vancouver’s Green Streets’ ‘Bulge Gardens’

By Sara Orchard
The Street Gardener
Monthly News from Green Streets Vancouver
March 2013


Garden: Wallace and 33rd
Gardener: Sharon Slack
Joined Green Streets: 2006

The use of primarily native plants has made the garden resilient to the Vancouver climate and allows for it to survive purely on rainwater throughout the year. Losing only a few plants over the years, Sharon has found that the coastal strawberry, evergreen huckleberry, sword ferns, dwarf Oregon grape, Kinnikinnick and the dogwood tree have thrived. The one plant that faired too well in the garden was snowberry. Sharon had to remove the plant before it consumed the rest of the garden.

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March 19, 2013   Comments Off