2013 Urban Farming Research & Report Roundup

2013 proved to be a good year for urban farming in Vancouver, and the Province of BC. Farms continue to sustain themselves, and new farms keep popping up. Although some unfortunate incidents have seen growers face challenges too. In Vancouver urban farming is still risky business for some. It remains difficult for some farmers to ensure tenure on any land, and though recommendations in Vancouver’s recent food strategy do call for protections for urban farmers, including things like an official business license, these things have not yet been formalized in many cases. If a developer, neighbour, or someone with an axe to grind sends in complaints to the City, farmers have few defenses at our disposal. Urban Stream thankfully has an extremely compact, self contained, and mobile system that is designed to thrive despite the uncertainties of urban development. We also enjoy an excellent relationship with restaurants like Luke’s Corner Bar & Kitchen who host us in their back parking lot.

One way to ensure that farms with less mobile operations are able to attain better tenure, avoid conflict with neighbours and businesses and be partners in building community, is to identify and encourage best practices in urban farming. The Vancouver Urban Farming Society has been doing much work in this area over the past year, and it was the theme at this year’s Vancouver Urban Farming Forum (the 3rd forum on UF in Vancouver). Urban Stream is proud to be a founding member of the VUFS.

Here is a recap of recent 2o13 reports and research coming out of Vancouver and a few other areas on Urban Farming. Let us know if we missed anything in the comments section, we know there’s a lot of amazing stuff going on in cities all over the world. Or tweet it to us @UrbanStream_Van

2013 Recap (a non exhaustive list of several good reports)

What Feeds Us: Vancouver Food Strategy – City of Vancouver, 2013

Understanding Our Practices from Seed to Scrap: The 2012 Urban Farming Forum, a Summary of What We Heard. Vancouver Urban Farming Society (Zsuzi Fodor & Shelby Tay)

The Urban Farming Guidebook: Planning for the Business of Growing Food in BC Towns and Cities HB Lanarc – Golder, 2013 (Janine de la Salle & Joanna Clark)

Urban Agriculture Policy, Planning, and Practice: A report for the City of Hamilton, May 2013

GrowTO: An Urban Agriculture Action Plan for Toronto 2013 Report (update) City of Toronto, Sept 2013

Guide to Urban Farming In New York State, by Hannah Koski (MA Thesis, Cornell University, December 2012) Excellent website full of resources based on the findings – Northeast Beginning Farmers Project, Cornell University

Urban Agriculture: The Potential and Challenges of Producing Food in Cities, Science News, September 17 2013

Urban Agriculture Summit Statement, 2013 (Hans Hassle)

These are just several this year and there are many theses and dissertations that we could probably include here too. Once again, let us know if we missed anything in the comments section below or tweet it to us @UrbanStream_Van

Here’s to 2014 being an even better year for urban farming in Vancouver and beyond.