Category — City Farmer
Interview about ‘Sharing Backyards’ in Vancouver BC
By Jodie Martinson
Monocle – The Urbanist about the cities we live in
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.”
March 26, 2013 No Comments
Stratas face extra cost, odours with food scraps
By Chris Campbell
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.”
March 21, 2013 No Comments
Vancouver’s Green Streets’ ‘Bulge Gardens’
By Sara Orchard
The Street Gardener
Monthly News from Green Streets Vancouver
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.
March 19, 2013 No Comments
10-20 neighbours in apartments bring their food scraps to us
By Michael Levenston
March 6, 2013
Our newest electric composter, nicknamed the ‘Silver Dragon’, is midway in size between the home-sized ‘Red Dragon’(now white) and the ‘White Dragon’ (a larger size) in which we composted Bishops’ restaurant food waste for a year.
Over the winter, we signed up between 10-20 neighbours from multi-family apartments and they brought their food scraps to the Compost Garden on Wednesday or Saturday afternoons. (No meat/fish/dairy waste accepted.) They met our gardener who inspected the waste and then unlocked the shed and placed the scraps in the Dragon.
March 7, 2013 No Comments
Sheila Jones and her 11-year-old children Katie and Dominic van Oort stand amid Dominic’s Scarlet runner beans, along with strawberry plants grown by both children in the family’s backyard. The bumper crops came at the end of the van Oorts’ second year in the South Malahat 4-H garden club – a group in which they hope to welcome new members this month. Photo by Natalie North.
Kids keen to get hands dirty in BC Club
By Natalie North
Saanich News, British Columbia
January 09, 2013
(Sheila Jones worked for City Farmer in the 1980’s and helped build the Strathcona Community Garden. Mike)
Dominic van Oort likes to take a stroll around his backyard, packing strawberries, tarragon, tomatoes and other fresh herbs he’s grown into kale leaves fresh from his garden. There he has it: a homegrown snack he’s dubbed the “outdoor sandwich.”
But don’t let the 11-year-old’s zest for freshness overshadow his keen eye for all things culinary.
January 11, 2013 No Comments
Photo by Stefan Lozinsky. See larger image here.
Seasons Greetings from City Farmers’ Directors, Staff and their Families.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 2013 marks City Farmer’s 35th year of service promoting urban agriculture. City Farmer is a Non-Profit Society and Registered Charity conceived in 1978. We operate Vancouver’s Compost Demonstration Garden.
December 24, 2012 No Comments
Click on the YouTube icon above to go to the larger version of the video.
‘Love For All Living Things’ by Ric Buckman Coe
“So we started with a plot in a neighbour’s yard
With a couple of friends and a bottle of wine,
You know it wasn’t to hard
You don’t know how good it feels,
To eat your own tomatoes and string beans”
‘Love For All Living Things’
Official music video
Directed by Rosalee Yagihara
Filmed in urban gardens around Vancouver, BC. (Note City Farmer’s ‘Compost Demonstration Garden’ can be seen in the video.)
Release date Monday December 3rd, 2012
From the sleeve of the new e.p. ‘Crow’s Nest’
“I came across an article about the Permaculture Punks of Mexico City a number of years ago and their ecological and social movement really prepared the ground for this song. One of the most revolutionary things we can do is take back control of our food. In coming years this will become even more necessary as we deal with rising oil prices & transportation costs, GMO’s and the threat to bio-diversity, global warming and regional and international food insecurity. Our communities and our health will be strengthened the more we can eat from our bio-regions, the more we break away from the corporate food industry, and the more we follow a plant-based diet. In this way, the simple act of growing our own food becomes an expression of personal and community power, and an act of Love and Harmony with the Earth.” Ric Buckman Coe
December 3, 2012 No Comments
Their teacher, Karin Jager, designed City Farmer’s Poster in 1983
By Instructor: Karin Jager and students
IDEA Program, 2011
North Vancouver, BC
Excerpt from Karen’s design blog:
Students from the IDEA Program at Capilano University worked on an advocacy project promoting the City Farmer as way to understand the powerful role communication design can play to inform, persuade and promote. The City Farmer was chosen because of its deep commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability. The City Farmer encourages city dwellers to grow their own food in backyard and community gardens through educational initiatives and community programs.
October 9, 2012 1 Comment
City Farmer staff are kept busy
Sometimes we don’t realize how different our days are at City Farmer from other people’s jobs; answering a Compost Hotline, teaching people how to care for worms, shooing away raccoons and skunks, giving our backyard harvest to needy mums and kids, and learning about potential insect pests coming to our City (e.g. the European Fire Ant).
This brief video captures some of the daily activities that took place last week throughout one Saturday 9am-4pm and a Monday morning. You’ll see staff getting ready for a Fall wormshop and participants leaving with their working worm bins. As they leave, a university tour arrives.
September 2, 2012 No Comments
People who live in urban and suburban environments are turning to homesteading to become more self-sufficient, depending less on a system that has grown out of touch with reality.
By Eden Canon
Ample resources for aspiring urban homesteaders are made available, through classes and home tours hosted by urban homesteaders, as well as online.
CityFarmer.info, one of the first websites to profile information about urban homesteading, provides hundreds of pages of their homesteading experiences as well as stories of other urban farmers and homesteaders across the globe. City Farmer also offers tours of their homestead in Vancouver, British Columbia, which boasts a living roof, compost toilets, organic produce garden, water conservation system, vermiculture and food scrap composting and many other sustainable living practices and amenities.
August 12, 2012 No Comments
Maria shows us her fava beans.
Harvesting fava beans in July at Vancouver’s Compost Garden
Maria grew two varieties of fava beans this year, Exhibition Longpod Fava and Purple Fava, both from Salt Spring Seeds. She is harvesting the beans right now at the end of July and has prepared a delicious humous.
Her recipe ingredients include fava beans, tahini, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper, all blended with a hand blender.
July 28, 2012 No Comments
‘City Farmer News’ is now averaging over 100,000 pages-views per month
Back in 1994 when City Farmer began publishing on the web, we were excited to find each new country viewing our site. The Internet was in its infancy and many countries had not hooked up. As the decade closed and we’d seen over 200 nations visit, we stopped watching these statistics.
But it’s interesting to see how things look today. The statistics on the following page, show page-views per country for the past two and a half months, from Feb 25 – May 13, 2012. The top countries visiting ‘City Farmer News’, with over 2000 views are: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, India, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, Philippines, France, Italy, Republic of Korea, South Africa and Singapore.
‘City Farmer News’ is now averaging 100,000 pages views per months, which shows the explosion of interest in city farming.
May 14, 2012 No Comments
The city’s goals include the creation of a land inventory to expand the footprint of urban agriculture and a 400-per-cent increase in the number of urban farms by 2020.
By Randy Shore
April 22, 2012
The City of Vancouver is pursuing changes to bylaws and regulations that will rescue commercial urban agriculture from its legal limbo.
A team of city staff members has convened with the goal of removing the legal impediments to farming on both public and private land, according to Coun. Andrea Reimer.
“We have a strong commitment under the Greenest City Action Plan to encourage local food production,” said Reimer.
April 23, 2012 No Comments
Red Celery In the Sunshine – An Urban Eden: transforming hopeless backyard hardpan into a lush organic plot
A story about City Farmer’s Demonstration Food Garden
Article and photography by Michael Levenston
Originally published in Harrowsmith Magazine
April/May 1984 Number 54
It is little more than a stone’s throw from downtown, a means of measure quite appropriate for the volunteers digging, weeding and discarding rocks from the painstakingly created soil that covers the sunny backyard of the Vancouver Energy Information Centre. Here, beautifully illustrated signs identify plants and techniques for gardeners who pass by a cold frame, a large solar greenhouse, a three-bin composting system and 30 raised beds filled with healthy vegetables. Occasionally, a train clangs by almost close enough to touch, overwhelming all the other city sounds and reminding the gardeners that not long ago, this little chunk of Eden was not much better suited to growing food than the railway siding next to it.
January 19, 2012 2 Comments
City Farmer Society from 1978-2003
By Michael Levenston
City Farmer – 2003
In 1978, a group of young environmentalists working at the Vancouver Energy Conservation Center stumbled across a book called The City People’s Book of Raising Food by William and Helga Olkowski. It described in everyday language how the authors grew all their own food right in the middle of the city of Berkeley. This inspiring book led us on an exploration of urban food production, which continues today, twenty-five years later.
Working at an energy center, the first thing that struck us was the amount of fossil fuel used to transport food from far away farms to our supermarkets. We quickly realized that there were real savings for people who grew food at home. Such a simple act struck us as revolutionary, especially when we saw that there were other environmental and social problems that could be addressed as well. The urban farmer became our new-found hero!
January 18, 2012 1 Comment
Happy New Year!
And the weather report here in Vancouver is for more rain and mild temperatures. Wear your rubber boots to visit our rubber duckies at the Compost Demonstration Garden.
January 1, 2012 No Comments
And we’ve just heard from Bill and Helga Olkowski!
From Bill’s email:
You may remember us as the authors of the “City Peoples Book of Raising Food” back in the 1970′s. We gave a talk in Seattle for the Pea Patch Group then encouraging people to set up community and backyard gardens. I remember this talk as one of the high points of our life because it went like this:
We were giving a rousing talk about how important urban agriculture is and could be for the following reasons:
1) it can save money,
2) it can save gasoline normally spent going to the market and traveling for fun,
3) it produces clean food without pesticides,
4) it’s good for the ecosystem since it uses compost from food wastes, and
5) it reduces the amounts of waste vegetable matter thus saving space in dumps.
At the end we asked for questions and the great question arose: “Who is going to do all this?”
November 28, 2011 1 Comment
Almost 30 years ago Karin created our ‘Urban Gardens’ poster
How thrilling — to meet for the first time Karin Jager, whose beautiful poster has graced our office walls for three decades. Over the years, we’ve mailed this colourful rooftop vision out to hundreds of gardeners around the world. Many of them have told us how much they love it.
Karin was hired by Environment Canada in the early 1980’s to create a poster for us soon after she graduated from design school. Some years later she was hired by the United Nation’s World Food Program (WFP) to design their logo, a masterpiece in my view, depicting a hand holding rice, maize and wheat. The idea that our tiny non-profit society is somehow related to the massive WFP is wonderful, – both organizations aiming to make food accessible to those in need.
November 15, 2011 No Comments
“Saffron’s aroma is often described by connoisseurs as reminiscent of metallic honey with grassy or hay-like notes.” Wikipedia
At the Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden.
Maria planted ‘Crocus sativus’ last Thanksgiving and now, a year later, the plants have bloomed. We look at the spice and its three vivid crimson stigmas used for cooking.
We asked Andrea Carlson, Executive Chef at nearby Bishop’s Restaurant, for some ideas on how she might use the spice.
November 7, 2011 No Comments
Sheryl: “… A dark shadow that looked like an alien head.”
When staff aren’t giving tours, answering the Compost Hotline, or talking to the media, they are gardening our 1/4 acre ‘office’ in Vancouver. Our front garden is landscaped with native British Columbia plants that we don’t have to water in the summer.
This week Sheryl was doing some Fall clean-up out front on an attractive bush. “It was quite the feeling to be pruning away and then to reveal this dark shadow that looked like an alien head, but upon closer inspection it was a beautiful, perfect, huge wasp nest.”
October 29, 2011 1 Comment