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Category — Vancouver

Street Food tells story of downtown Vancouver’s social enterprise farm

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Michael Ableman with Alain Guy (background) at the False Creek Sole Food farm in downtown Vancouver. ARLEN REDEKOP / PNG. Click on image for larger file.

Sole Food, a five-acre farm in the city’s grittiest neighbourhood that employs people who have been abandoned by society

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
September 14, 2016

Excerpt:

Q: You use the word incongruent to describe the Sole Food farm site on the Downtown Eastside. How has the feeling in the neighbourhood evolved?

A: When people close their eyes and think of a farm they see a pastoral scene with fences and a barn, rows of food and cows grazing. In our case, that visual is very different. Our farms float in a sea of roadways and tall buildings and along the alleys in some hard parts of Vancouver.

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September 15, 2016   No Comments

How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain

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Walking and biking on a gravel trail along the new Arbutus Greenway in Vancouver, BC.

These results “strongly suggest that getting out into natural environments” could be an easy and almost immediate way to improve moods for city dwellers, Mr. Bratman said.

By Gretchen Reynolds
New York Times
July 22, 2015

Excerpt:

City dwellers also have a higher risk for anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses than people living outside urban centers, studies show.

These developments seem to be linked to some extent, according to a growing body of research. Various studies have found that urban dwellers with little access to green spaces have a higher incidence of psychological problems than people living near parks and that city dwellers who visit natural environments have lower levels of stress hormones immediately afterward than people who have not recently been outside.

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September 12, 2016   Comments Off on How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain

Vancouver Chefs Grow Their Own

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Andrea Carlson of Burdock & Co. stands amongst the ginger and edible flowers in her restaurant’s urban garden. – Dan Toulgoet photo

Vancouver restaurants are taking the 100-mile diet a step further and growing their own ingredients here in the city

By Robert Mangelsdorf
Westender
Aug 31, 2016

Excerpt:

“Growing the botanicals was definitely something that was instilled in me working at the Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island,” she says. “It’s an incredibly inspired place. I learned a ton there, that ethos, and had an opportunity to experience on a daily basis the opportunities of the plants as they present themselves.

“Now it’s about the flower,” she continues, “then it’s the seed, then it’s about the fruit, then it’s the root. It’s not just about saying we have beets and tomatoes to work with. We have this entire world of potential from these plants, that’s what gets me excited when it comes to creating menus.”

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September 1, 2016   Comments Off on Vancouver Chefs Grow Their Own

Longtime City Councillor’s Seed Collection Preserves The Roots Of British Columbia’s Agriculture

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Living agricultural legend Harold Steves maintains a collection of seeds for rare plant varieties specially adapted for the Lower Mainland. (MPMG)

Harold Steves’ family has been involved in B.C. agriculture for more than 130 years, and with his collection of rare locally-adapted seeds, he hopes to remain so well into the future.

By Matt Meuse
CBC News
Aug 22, 2016

Excerpt:

One of Steves’ most popular plants is the alpha tomato, which dates back to the original Steves catalogue from 1877, bred to thrive in Lower Mainland soil and weather. According to Steves, it blooms a week earlier than other varieties, and produces red tomatoes a full month earlier.

Another point of pride in Steves’ collection is the black Russian sunflower. Steves believes he may be the only source of seeds for this particular strain in the world.

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September 1, 2016   Comments Off on Longtime City Councillor’s Seed Collection Preserves The Roots Of British Columbia’s Agriculture

Practical Hydroponics Magazine Features ‘City Farming’

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The Rise Of Urban Agriculture

By Christine Brown-Paul
PH&G
September 2016 / Issue 171
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

In this issue we trace the rise of city farming – also known as urban agriculture – a phenomenon whose widespread uptake globally is at the vanguard of a silent revolution in the way our food is produced. Embracing practices such as rooftop farming, hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics and the like, city farming is the farming of the future.

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August 31, 2016   Comments Off on Practical Hydroponics Magazine Features ‘City Farming’

Aerial Drone Shoots HD Video of the Vancouver Compost Garden

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3. Drone Aerial of Vancouver Compost Garden – Back Garden – Ground to Sky from Michael Levenston on Vimeo.

City Farmer’s Gardens seen from the sky.

Videos by Earl Havlin
August, 2016.
(Must see, Mike)

These six short videos were taken from a drone at 2150 Maple, Vancouver’s Compost Demonstration Garden. The drone aerial views show the portable office and the three main City Farmer Gardens.

Front: The Climate Change Adaption Garden
Middle: Food Producing Compost Garden
Back: Biodiversity, Insectary Garden

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August 28, 2016   Comments Off on Aerial Drone Shoots HD Video of the Vancouver Compost Garden

The Van Berckel’s edible garden offers bounty of fruit, flowers and vegetables (Bowen Island, Vancouver, BC)

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David and Aubin Van Berckel sit beside a willow sculpture named Con Brio by Vancouver artist Ken Clarke in their 2.5-acre edible garden on Bowen Island. Photo by Kim Stallknecht.

Just when I thought I had seen everything, the Van Berckels lead me into another area where there are two tunnels — one made from espaliered apples, the other from golden hops, from which David makes beer.

By Steve Whysall
Vancouver Sun
Aug. 19, 2016

Excerpt:

As we descend deeper into the garden, David hands me a ripe Italian fig to taste. It is juicy and delicious. Next, he offers me a handful of ripe mulberries. Heavenly.

“I pollard (remove the top) our other mulberry trees. They look great in the winter. But since I prune them so hard, I don’t get fruit, since the fruit is only produced on previous year’s growth,” he says.

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August 27, 2016   Comments Off on The Van Berckel’s edible garden offers bounty of fruit, flowers and vegetables (Bowen Island, Vancouver, BC)

Vancouver’s YWCA Rooftop Food Garden is Ten Years Old

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It yields 1,500 pounds of fresh, high-quality produce each year

By Sandy Reimer
Director, Health + Fitness & Operations
YWCA Metro Vancouver
Aug 2016

I always feel brightened by my daily visit to the YWCA Rooftop Food Garden, which sits on top of our Health + Fitness Centre, among downtown Vancouver’s office buildings and high rises. The vibrant, sweet-smelling fruits and veggies make me feel closer to the families who benefit from our garden’s abundance.

Ten years into our gardening project, and it’s still hard to believe that this urban treasure, which yields 1,500 pounds of fresh, high-quality produce each year, was once an ornamental garden. And it all grows in just inches of organic soil!

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August 23, 2016   Comments Off on Vancouver’s YWCA Rooftop Food Garden is Ten Years Old

Excerpts from Michael Ableman’s book, ‘Street Farm’ (August 2016)

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A Sole Food urban farm in an old Petro-Canada station in Vancouver’s East End. Photo by Agriculture Urbana.

‘People are no easier to recover than the land buried under layers of pavement.’

By Michael Ableman
Earth Island Journal
Aug 17, 2016

Excerpt:

We interrupt harvesting for one of our farm walks, a chance for me to share some techniques or a little philosophy, answer questions, and tell stories. And I realize that even as I am telling stories to make abundance real and visual for folks who may never have experienced it, I am feeling my own doubts and questions about what lies ahead. It feels odd for me standing in this parking lot on a street corner talking about soil microbes, optimal plant spacing, or the life cycle of an aphid. On my rural farm, not far from here, I’d be carrying on similar conversations, but there I’m mentoring young, well-scrubbed kids fresh out of college, most of whom have never known real hardship, all still hopeful and idealistic, too young for life to have slapped them around.

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August 18, 2016   Comments Off on Excerpts from Michael Ableman’s book, ‘Street Farm’ (August 2016)

Canada: Meet East Vancouver’s original urban farmers

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Like many immigrant Asian seniors, Jason Lee and his wife, Jean, grow a colourful mix of eastern and western crops in their East Van garden. Photo Jennifer Gauthier.

These seniors’ view of urban farming is not the hip and healthy lifestyle many city dwellers have pursued it for.

Christopher Cheung
Vancouver Courier
Aug 10, 2016

Excerpt:

Michaelina Teo has grown produce for many years, from mangoes in Brunei to the Swiss chard at her Renfrew home, but last year was the first time she ever won a prize for the sexiest squash.

The prize was awarded to her by Collingwood Neighbourhood House for its harvest festival. But for the 72-year-old, who likes to be called Mee Mee, the fruits of her labour were always their own reward.

“I’m a very casual gardener,” she said, although she’s known in the neighbourhood for her green thumb.

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August 12, 2016   Comments Off on Canada: Meet East Vancouver’s original urban farmers

Vancouver Gardeners’ Protest – The Arbutus Greenway: Paving Paradise

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Video by Mark Battersby. The Arbutus Greenway: Paving Paradise.

By Ian Bailey
The Globe and Mail
Aug. 02, 2016

Excerpt:

But Adrian Levy, chairman of the Cypress Community Garden, is suspicious about the pavement, suggesting it is likely permanent.

“Temporary? I just can’t see that,” he said, adding he would prefer crushed gravel as is used elsewhere on pathways at some city beaches.

“Even though they say it’s temporary, once that’s there it has started a process.”

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August 3, 2016   Comments Off on Vancouver Gardeners’ Protest – The Arbutus Greenway: Paving Paradise

Vancouver Community Gardeners Furious as City Paves Greenway

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Gardeners say that they were never consulted despite promises

By Nadia Stewart
Global News
Sun, Jul 31, 2016

The long term plans for the Arbutus Corridor in Vancouver have yet to be finalized. But we now know what the city’s short-term plan is … and some residents are pretty upset about it.

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August 1, 2016   Comments Off on Vancouver Community Gardeners Furious as City Paves Greenway

Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier

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Forthcoming in September, 2016 – By Michael Ableman

By Michael Ableman
Chelsea Green Publishing
Aug/Sept 2016

Street Farm is the inspirational account of residents in the notorious Low Track in Vancouver, British Columbia—one of the worst urban slums in North America—who joined together to create an urban farm as a means of addressing the chronic problems in their neighborhood. It is a story of recovery, of land and food, of people, and of the power of farming and nourishing others as a way to heal our world and ourselves.

During the past seven years, Sole Food Street Farms—now North America’s largest urban farm project—has transformed acres of vacant and contaminated urban land into street farms that grow artisan-quality fruits and vegetables. By providing jobs, agricultural training, and inclusion in a community of farmers and food lovers, the Sole Food project has empowered dozens of individuals with limited resources who are managing addiction and chronic mental health problems.

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July 29, 2016   Comments Off on Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier

Vancouver aeroponics farm uses ‘space-age’ tech to grow food for local restaurants, markets

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Aaron Ferguson, CEO of Harvest Urban Farms, stands in the Strathcona warehouse where the farm is located. He said he would like to see more aeroponics farms in Vancouver. (Rachel Sanders/CBC)

He said they can get lettuce plants, for example, ready for harvest within 28 to 35 days. “Lettuce plants out in the field take about 45 days to be mature,” he said.

By Gavin Fisher and Rachel Sanders,
CBC News
Jul 21, 2016

Excerpt:

Harvest Urban Farms supplies their produce to restaurants and markets within a 10-kilometre radius of the farm.

Ferguson said he hopes to see the use of aeroponics grow in Vancouver, as he said growing food locally as opposed to importing it improves the quality and eliminates supply chain costs.

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July 22, 2016   Comments Off on Vancouver aeroponics farm uses ‘space-age’ tech to grow food for local restaurants, markets

Fence Gardening by Invivo Design Studio

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fencegWith our vertical vegetation products (A.K.A. “living walls” or “vertical gardens”), you can enjoy herbs, flowers, and vegetables within arm’s reach – even in downtown apartments and compact townhouses.

Vertical Urban Ecology – Invivo’s pocket planters allow you to turn any fence or railing into a vertical garden.

By Yael Stav and Gordon Glaze
Invivo Design Studio
Vancouver, BC

Excerpt from their website:

Invivo Design Studio was founded in Tel-Aviv by life partners Yael Stav and Gordon Glaze. Design research at the studio started by purchasing vertical vegetation systems from established vendors and assessing them for food production in our small Tel-Aviv Yard.

Invivo’s yard soon became a tourist attraction in it’s own right with weekly tours being conducted for sightseers regularly. It became a venue for instruction of vertical vegetation, permaculture and urban agriculture. The yard was inspiring in its methods and prolific in its yield.

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July 12, 2016   Comments Off on Fence Gardening by Invivo Design Studio