Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Urban Experience

From The Vancouver Sun website:

A parking lot is not exactly the place you might expect to see organic beans, bok choy and baby beets growing in abundance.

But part of the empty lot on the former Expo lands on the north side of False Creek will become a two-acre urban farm, bursting with 40 varieties of fruits and vegetables, if all goes according to plan.

“It’s an enormous leap,” said Michael Ableman, an urban farmer and director of Solefood, an organization that creates agriculture jobs and training for inner-city residents.

It’s the largest city farm attempted in Vancouver, and will be tended mostly by residents of the Downtown Eastside. The group plans to employ 25 people along with four farming apprentices and sell its produce to restaurants and farmers’ markets. The farm is portable, growing in containers above ground, because the site is on a three-year lease.

“We’re demonstrating this can in fact be considered a serious enterprise for urban areas. We’re not talking about community gardens any more. We’re taking it up a level,” said Ableman, who founded the Centre for Urban Agriculture in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1981 and now farms on Saltspring Island.

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