Sewage to Heat

Vancouver has opened what is supposedly the first neighborhood sewage to heat treatment facility inside a city centre in North America.  This was part of the Millennium Water/Olympic Athlete’s Village development.  It also fits in with Vancouver’s quest to become the Greenest City in the World.

Millennium Village is not in Vancouver’s historic inner-city but False Creek, which is nearby, has slowly been turned from industrial land into mixed residential neighborhood, the Olympic Village was intended to have social housing and be an example of a new-style green planned community, similar to Dockside Green in Victoria.

Building Opportunities with Business, in addition to working on greening the inner-city, helped train inner-city residents to work on the site as part of the CBA that was negotiated between the City and the Developer.  Another CBA is potentially in the works for the build-out of the rest of False Creek which would provide benefits to Vancouver’s inner-city.

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Vancouver Community Gardens

Rebecca Bollwitt AKA Miss604 has just written a piece on all the community gardens that have sprouted up in Vancouver. She of course mentions SOLEfood which differentiates itself as being an actual neighbourhood farm, with the intention of selling the produce and paying inner-city residents to work on it.

The farm wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of people donating: time, labour, and in some cases money. SOLEfood has it’s own blog now, where you can hopefully learn more about our future plans.

I also put up a gallery in Flickr of the various community gardens on Hastings Street in the DTES.

DTES Neighbourhood House Garden

Spreading Seeds

That is the title of a short documentary film made by students at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. It features interviews and footage of local gardeners, politicians, authors, and farmers talking about food security, urban agriculture and the use of public space.

They obviously stopped by SOLEfood on our first major build day. They interviewed Seann Dory and other members of the team as well as some of our volunteers. It is about 14 minutes long so take the time to watch it and send it to a friend or re-post it like we’re doing after it appeared on City Farmer News.

SOLEfood in 2010

Work has been ongoing behind the scene. We have worked hard to expand our brain-trust through an advisory board. We’ve added more urban farming expertise in the form of Ward Teulon of City Farm Boy and Michael Ableman of Foxglove Farm.

We have been developing our training program for inner-city residents. We will have a public info session soon for folks interested in that. We will also be having a third build day. We’ve taken the advise from others and refined the layout of the farm. We are currently deliberating on what to grow. We have conflicting demands, we want to break even and provide income for inner-city residents, but we also want to provide some locally grown healthy food that is affordable for folks living in the inner-city.

We’ve even looked at adding another site, we are actively exploring two plots, but we may not have the resources to start a second or third farm with our first not even having produced a crop.

We plan on adding more growing space to SOLEfood and building some low tunnels to increase the growing season. We also will be transplanting seedlings rather than going from seed, we have a lot of logistical issues to work out in time for Spring.

Ward was recently the subject of a story by Francis Bula, in the Globe And Mail.