Strathcona close to winning $80,000 Aviva Community Fund -BUT

They still need some votes FROM YOU. Before reading further, if you want to live/work/play in or just see a greener healthier Strathcona then click here, then spread the word and make it happen! The deadline for the contest is on the 15th and Strathcona is VERY CLOSE to making the cut. If you want to know what all the excitement is about here’s what the $80,000 would go towards:

  • Edible plants would provide new opportunities for local food production. Using native plants would reduce the resources required for their maintenance thus minimizing the ecological footprint of each garden.
  • By creating micro gardens in Strathcona more green space would be accessible throughout the neighbourhood.
  • This project would also reduce spaces available for criminal activity through the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. A public place that lacks significant ownership interest is often perceived by some as places where criminal activity is supported. By converting underutilized spaces into gardens, the BIA would help reduce areas that encourage crime.
  • The most profound benefit of this project would be the generation of green jobs for individuals with job readiness barriers and inner city youth. The youth will gain tangible job experience

Let’s make it happen! All it takes is a click of the mouse (and sending of a link).

Wes

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 garden raising a success

Over 50 volunteers and at times nearly as many media people descended on Hastings and Hawks in the DTES for the official garden raising of SOLEfood. We built twenty-four 12ft by 4ft garden boxes and numerous composting containers made of recycled shipping material. Also assembled was a small shed as well as the beginning of the general clean up of the sight which included fridges, wood, slate, metal, and other miscellaneous garbage.

Lots still needs to be done. SOLEfood was always intended to provide training and employment for inner-city residents. However it is a long way from being a functioning farm. We need to:

  • Finish building garden boxes
  • Line all garden boxes
  • Fill boxes with drainage rock and soil
  • Remove urban debris
  • Relocate and secure garden shed
  • General clean up and securing of site

All that work needs to be completed before we can begin planting and growing food on East Hastings. There is lots of good news such as a local chef wanting to buy our vegetables and a farmer in the valley willing to provide us with starter plants.

The garden raising received a lot of media coverage, including two BOB staff members making the front page of the Vancouver Sun. Here is a list of stories I collected:

We took some pictures and put them on Flickr. We might put a few on Facebook too.

It takes a community to raise a garden

On October 31st at 10:00 AM, volunteers are gathering at 700 East Hastings and Hawks Avenue in Strathcona to create the raised bed garden boxes necessary to convert five empty asphalt covered lots into an urban garden that will provide food, employment, and training opportunities for inner-city residents.

If you are interested in contributing to the greening of Vancouver’s inner-city we need volunteers and tools and materials, contact Seann Dory of United We Can for the latest list of what we need. Part of this project involves a mural which will include permanent recognition of the groups that made SOLEfood a reality.

700 East Hastings

This garden raising represents the culmination of months of work by a dedicated subset of the Green Inner-city Cluster. The property belongs to the owner of the Astoria Hotel who is letting us convert it to a garden in exchange for paying the taxes for the next couple years. We need to begin the conversion this month in order to be eligible for lower taxes.

Artist Rendering

Artist Rendering

Save Our Living Environment is a sister organization to United We Can which was selected to be the lead organization for our first grant application. From there we got the name SOLEfood for our first urban agriculture project. Today’s coverage in the Metro and on Projects In Place’s blog neglected to mention the financial and organizational support of a number of key partners:

Come out and help us make Vancouver the Greenest City in the World, starting with Hawks and Hastings.

Grey to Green

“Grey to Green” is a unique introduction of community arts into an unlikely space: a parking lot and back alley in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. Infrastructure improvements and programming will revitalize this formerly challenged space, turning it into a stage, a screen, and an outdoor gallery.

The purpose of this event is to introduce the community (residents, local arts organizations, other organizations, and businesses) to the recently refurbished parking lot at 150 Cordova Street. The event will preview for the community the future plans for the lot and surrounding lane area that include:

  1. A mural project for the back wall of 319 Main Street.
  2. An “Art Fence’ project that will turn the fence that surrounds the parking lot into a canvas for the local artists.
  3. Special public events to be held by local arts and community groups in the lot.
  4. The inclusion of the parking lot and laneways as a student design project at the BCIT Architectural Ecology Institute’s fall of 2009 class.
  5. Future open-air movie nights – to be held in the renewed lot.

BOB's Old Alley and Parking Lot

This is BOB‘s old alley and BOB’s old neighbor so we’ll try to drop by. It really is a big change from how that alley used to look and they used some DTES residents to do the labour. To learn more about Grey to Green visit the William Vince Foundation website.

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