Though Urban Stream is leaning much more towards our composting technology these days, we have a microfarming project on the go with Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. Rocky Mountain bought our Urban Microfarm container a little over a year ago. And a little less than a year ago, the City of Vancouver issued a stop work order on that project due to a neighbour’s complaint.
Despite the city issuing the stop work order, they were really eager to get us up and running. We worked closely with the city to get the unit up to the city’s code. Because the City of Vancouver had never seen a project like our Microfarm, so we had to work with them to figure out which building codes we have to abide by. Ultimately, we had to change the roof on the micro-farm, upgrade the electrical and seismically anchor the shipping container to ensure that if a big earthquake hits, the container won’t budge.
This week, after the container was inspected by the engineer and our friendly-neighbourhood building inspector, the retrofits were approved! We are so happy to have gotten to this point after almost a year of retrofitting and working with the city. Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company has been so wonderfully patient with us and the city, and we couldn’t be happier to have them as a flagship customer.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be outfitting the micro-farm with our second generation worm composter and Lifespace Projects’ self-watering planter boxes and in no time at all you’ll be able to enjoy Urban Stream’s fresh greens on Rocky Mountain’s delicious flatbread pizzas.
Urban Stream founder, Nick Hermes, is being interviewed on CBC Spark today! You can tune in to hear Nick talk about the slightly new direction Urban Stream is taking and how our composting techology can help your restaurant, business or institution. Nick talk’s to Nora Young about Vancouver’s organics ban, which came into place in January 2015. The city has given everyone until July 2015, to comply with the new bylaw. Have a listen, to find out what this means for Urban Stream!
Urban Stream was on The Early Edition with Rick Cluff today! Nick Hermes talks about how we are working with the city to get our micro-farming projects properly permitted by the city. Our customer, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company, is also interviewed talking about how the process has been for them.
You can listen to the interview below, or by visiting CBC’s The Early Edition.
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)
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)
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
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.