City Beet Urban Farm

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City Beet Urban Farm

Vancouver, CanadaVancouver, Canada
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Provide local, sustainable, affordable, and healthy food to the Vancouver community. Coordinate a network of community spaces for others to do the same.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There are 2.3 million people living in Greater Vancouver. The majority of food required to sustain the city is trucked in from around the world. We have a food system that provides low quality food with high environmental costs. All aspects of our lives are connected in a fundamental way to the food we eat. All Vancouverites – not just the privileged – need access to grow and eat "just" food. Our definition of "just" food is food that grown locally and is healthy for people and the environment. The whole city needs to be engaged in the process of growing and eating “just” food. We also believe there is a need to shift our values as a society in terms of the food we eat and the people who grow it. The connection to land, food, and farmers has been lost

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our solution is an urban farm business that grows vegetables on front lawns and sells them to the community as part of a food share program. With the profits made from the shares, we will develop new lawns as community garden spaces for people to grow their own food. We want to address the affordability aspect of "just" food. We recognize that not everyone will have the resources (time included) to participate in a community garden. Our short term solution to this is to offer sliding-scale share prices, but in the long term we are contributing to the creation of a just food system. We want to see a food system that does justice to the land, the farmer, and the consumer. We want a system that does not force people without resources to consume unjust food.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We will grow and harvest vegetable crops on front and back lawns in Vancouver. We ask landowners to let us use their space, and in return they will receive a discount on our vegetables. The vegetables we grow will be used to fill community shared agriculture (CSA) shares. CSA is a program where shareholders pay for a share the beginning of the growing season and are provided a weekly box of vegetables until the end of the season (18-20 weeks). Shareholders and community members are actively engaged in understanding the risks that farmers take and the lengthy process of food production. We do not want to exist as a for-profit business. Our goals as an organization are to reduce barriers to "just" food, encourage people to have a connection with the food they eat, and do this in a way that reduces our environmental footprint. We encourage shareholders to visit our gardens and participate in the process, in order to build a community of people in Vancouver who understand the importance food plays in our lives. We will coordinate a network of landowners and gardeners; there are far too many people waiting for community garden plots in Vancouver. We hope to negotiate with landowners to develop their space into "community plots," using profits to add nutrients to the land and offering workshops on small-plot gardening.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are a few other urban farms offering a similar CSA program, using either large urban areas (up to 2 acres) or private space on front lawns. We consider these businesses to be our peers as opposed to our competitors, as we are working with similar values and towards the same end. Many of our peers offer low-cost shares and food donations, which we are interested in pursuing and believe are important strategies to reduce barriers to "just" food. We want to make this a more sustainable process by increasing the amount of urban garden space available to those who want to grow food for themselves. This would involve the coordination of a network of landowners and potential gardeners, along with us sharing our passion and knowledge through workshops and community events.

Founding Story

Both of us went through university with a feeling that we somehow wanted to preserve and sustain the world for future generations. At the same time, we both had opportunities to work with marginalized groups and through those experiences realized that our current way of living is both unsustainable and unjust for many people. We also began to notice that people of all backgrounds and class are becoming more and more distanced from one of their basic needs. Since food is one of the few things we all need to survive, it makes sense that we should focus some serious effort into ensuring that our food consumption is not only sustainable, but something that we have control over. What it comes down to is this: Our planet will not survive if we continue with current commercial agricultural practices. We need an alternative that protects our environment, redefines the value of food in our lives, and encourages communities to work together to increase everyone's access to "just" food.