How can we reach our 2020
Greenest City Targets?

How can we reach our 2020 Greenest City targets?

Encourage urban food production

Urban vegetable gardens and container planting can go a long way towards reducing our food miles and our dependence on imports.

Successful projects in Mexico and Cuba show us that we can produce a lot of food in the city proper, so why don't we?

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  • Steven Forth commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I wonder if the point being made by Anonymous is that we need more research, support and shared learning to make urban food production more effective. I suspect there is a wide variation between top yields and average. Worth researching and sharing knowledge. And a reason we need a vertical experimental farm right downtown and some others in more residential areas.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    haha! Mexico and Cuba are around the equator, that's why! Sorry but I try to produce as much food as I can in my Vancouver back yard...and it ain't much!!

  • Sophie Agbonkhese commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The Strathcona BIA is trying to make this idea happen through an application for the Aviva Community Fund. Basically, we want to create small community gardens on private properties adjacent to public spaces throughout the neighbourhood. The work to develop the land in preparation for gardening would be done by Mission Possible Enterprises, a local non-profit that provides employment opportunities for individuals with job readiness barriers and assists in breaking the cycles of poverty, homelessness, and addiction. Local youth would also be employed as partners with the landscapers to learn valuable food production and community development skills.

    This would not only promote urban food production but it would also create green jobs, reduce crime and beautify the area.

    Help us make this a reality by voting at and we could see an entire neighbourhood of community gardens in less than a year!

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I think I saw that growbags are quite a good idea to get growing food easily - a local company is just devising innovative growbags as a social enterprise. I think here:

  • Tyler commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is such a simple and effective way of "going green" and I'm surprised more people don't grow their own edible gardens. Governments can offer "how to" gardening courses for free but of course that would involve increasing taxes or could offer courses for a small fee. Combine this with the ability to take residents yard scraps and kitchen wastes and you have the Government being able to sell fertilizer/compost to help support the cause.

    The Private Industry could take advantage quite easily and make a healthy profit by creating a business that plants and takes care of gardens like landscaping companies take care of lawns.

    @Resisting Nonsense. Don't let your political views tarnish a great idea.

  • Steven Forth commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Yes, I understand what is happening in some other cities, it is "Pavel''s comment that I am struggling to understand. Perhaps the intent is that we should only learn from countries that we are in complete agreement with, that would be a very short list.

  • Steven Forth commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I am struggling to understand the relevance of Pavel's comment to the topic. Perhaps he or she or someone who understands the point be made could clarify for me. Thanks.

  • Pavel commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Because Mexico and Cuba are countries with poorly defined property rights.

  • Kirsten commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    A key part of every food production system is distribution - supporting organizations like the Fresh Roots Urban CSA should be a vital part of this strategic plan.

  • Geordie Milne commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. It is very meaningful to me and my great grandchildren.

    Has everyone heard of Permaculture and or adventured into the world of edible perennials? (many good websites and books on this topic)

    (side note to a prior related comment, Yes we should work towards planting as many natives are possible, but food imported is a forest cut down somewhere else... out of sight, out of mind)

    Let's grow our own food; healthy and organic. Encouraging the integration of animals and insects within the landscape.

    With peak oil, (there are many good resources on the net for this topic)

    We will move back to urban food. Every yard will vibrate with the sound of bees. We will pick fruit as we walk to work. We will know our neighbours. Communities will be resilient to disturbances. We will be sustainably self sufficient.

    One way I am encouraging urban food production is handing out free edible wild chestnut seeds on the corner Burrard and Georgia.

    Root to Rise.

    Thank you to all the pioneers!

  • Steven Forth commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    One important step will be to have an urban experimental farm, probably together with the local universities. We lack basic knowledge on urban farms and we lack mechanisms to disseminate this knowledge, an urban experimental farm can do both. Beyond that, roof and vertical gardens will have a big role to play. But so could shellfish in local waters. Cultivating oysters in False Creek and Burrard Inlet could both clean the water and evolve into a local food source. Surfacing streams could improve local fish stocks. One minor idea - how can we make better use of the profusion of blackberries in Vancouver? One important goal, everyone in Vancouver should live in walking disance of a store that sells local produce (local could go as far as the Okanagon if need be).

  • Local Food Working Group commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Steven Forth:
    Good ideas all around… we’ve been looking at a number of options to encourage local food production, processing and distribution and doubtless there’s more to be done here. For e.g. Council just passed a motion in July that allows Farmers Markets in every zone on a two year pilot basis. We’re also working to increase the number of gardens on City-owned land as well.

    The idea of measuring the amount of food grown in the city has been something that we’ve contemplated. Currently if feels a ways off, and we’re just at the point where we’ve been able to ascertain the amount of land ‘in production’ on city-owned property. We haven’t yet ventured into developing a measure of private backyards, etc. or the quantity of food produced. That being said, there are some fantastic local initiatives that have ‘pooled’ front and backyards into very productive small-scale agriculture projects, capable of providing multiple households with local food and surplus for CSA-style distribution.

    Being a net exporter suggests that we’ll be able to feed the residents of the City and have surplus left to export. Whether we’ll be able to achieve this in a comprehensive fashion is unclear. As a start it would require some pretty radical shifts in land-use, not to mention some other innovations (vertical farms, perhaps?)

    But perhaps we can think about being a net exporter of certain types of food or food products. Any thoughts on the best options here?

  • Steven Forth commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    An idea does not need to be new to be compelling. And there is a lot for Vancouver to do around land use policies, zoning, taxation and demonstration projects to increase local food production and diversity. We should track the amount of food grown in the city as a metric. Vancouver city proper could become a net food exporter!

  • e Bergler commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This isn't a new idea! Citicens have planted backyard gardens as long as there are cities.

  • Steven Forth commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This should reach out into the urban fringe, bringing farms closer to the city, expanding green spaces and integrating farms into them, and making it possible to cycle to farms. Perhaps we need an urban experimental farm right downtown!

  • Steven Forth commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is critical. Urban farms, urban food gardens, urban hens, goats, sheep; oysters and other fish in False Creek; recovery of the great Fraser fisheries by restoring our source river ... green roofs used for gardens ... this should be a pillar of a green Vancouver.

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