How can we reach our 2020
Greenest City Targets?

How can we reach our 2020 Greenest City targets?

Support Urban Farming Entrepeneurship

Urban farming from an entrepreneurial approach holds one of the most exciting possibilities for urban food production. Urban farming is a great way for Vancouver to achieve “worldwide entrepreneurial recognition” and create sustainable urban jobs.

Other successful urban farming systems (i.e., Havana, Cuba; Detroit, Michigan) have developed out of necessity and urgency. Such conditions do not yet exist in Vancouver. Yet urban farming, which is now a multi-million dollar “industry” in North America, holds the potential to create economic opportunities for those wanting to engage in urban food production; provide the most local food possible to Vancouver residents (and visitors); and help the City reduce “…the carbon footprint of our food by 33 percent per capita”

The city can support urban farming businesses in many ways:

- Provide tax credits to homeowners and businesses for converting lawns into farms (see - and support! - the other posting that suggests this). Vancouver has very limited space for urban food production so lawns are the future of urban farming in this city.
- Provide start up loans and grants to potential urban farmers (business plan required!)
- Adjust zoning bylaws to allow for income-generating food production anywhere in the city
- Provide funding for urban agriculture resources such as shared tools and storage space; educational websites; apprenticeship opportunities; and, sustainable transport (yes, even urban-grown food needs to be distributed!)
- Develop urban farmer’s markets (city-grown or processed food only)
- Support restaurants in sourcing urban-grown food

Urban farming may never be able to feed the whole city, but it can help reduce our food miles and carbon foot print, while at the same time providing interesting, fulfilling, and economically-sustainable jobs for Vancouver residents.

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  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Not convinced that this would work without pollution being added to urban farming (setting up of greenhouses, inadequate crop rotation, pest control introducing invasive species). Not to mention the climate and realestate in Vancouver isn't exactly great for this kind of initiative.

  • ben commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Good to see you on here Chris!
    I thought about putting my idea up, but I think it's a little late. At any rate, good news: the site is empty and remaining that way for a while according to the city. It is reserved for the new St. Paul's hospital, but that project has fallen off in the last year or so...

    ...enter the farm. Good luck with your stuff and give me a call sometime if you want to chat...
    Ben Stevenson (from James Richardson's class)

  • chris thoreau commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Dear Anonymous,

    I am curious where you are seeing urban and part-time farmers underprice their produce. Are there markets in Vancouver where this is happening?

    Why do you set $15 as your minimum labour cost? I believe it should be up to each farmer to price his or her produce according to his or her own needs. And is it $15 in every year (including start up year)? I made $2.63/hour my first year, so have I done something unethical? This year I may make $10 if I am lucky. Does this mean I am underpricing my produce? At the same time I was able to pay my apprentices at $12/hour

    I appreciate your comments, but my experience tells otherwise, so I would love to see some examples or precedents for your suggestions. My pocket book tells me that nobody is underpricing at the market! And $15 is an easily achievable goal (mine is $22.hour). But it takes time to get there.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    farmers markets should work to attract more farmers regardless of whether they are "urban farmers" or otherwise. urban or part time farmers need to price their product appropriately, taking into consideration all input costs including a labour cost minimum of $15/hr. My experience is that they will often under price and hence undermine the viability of all local agriculture

  • Alexandra commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Food is one of our basic necessities, and it only makes ecological, social, and economic sense to grow it organically within Vancouver for Vancouver citizens. I want to engage with and grow food for my neighbours, and plan to make it my full time job next year. Obviously I completely support this idea :)

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