Urban Agriculture Ideas Jam

A Building Opportunities with Business Gaining Ground Shoulder Event

When: Tuesday, October 20, 2009, from 7:00 – 10:00 pm
Where: Century House, 432 Richards Street (between Pender and Hastings)

When discussing resilient cities the topic of urban agriculture inevitably emerges. An exciting project in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside aims to convert an asphalt parking lot into an urban agriculture project by the end of the year. Join Building Opportunities with Business, in collaboration with the Vancouver Design Nerds and the Vancouver Public Space Network for an inspiring brainstorming session in a social setting. Learn about innovative urban agriculture projects and contribute your ideas on how this parking lot can be turned into a viable city farm and employment incubator.

Please RSVP via facebook or by email to Andrew McKay

700 East Hastings

This event is directly related to the SOLEfood project which would take empty lots at 700 East Hastings and turn them into an urban agricultural project. Here is a version of the project vision we drafted:

An urban farm in the Downtown Eastside being tended by residents, producing food for residents, providing employment and training for residents, and contributing to the economic revitalization of the area.
Project Goals & Objectives

  1. Transform empty lot in to an urban farm
  2. Train inner-city residents for employment in agriculture
  3. Produce fresh healthy food for consumption in the inner-city
  4. Employ residents in the construction and ongoing operation of the urban farm
  5. Contribute to the economic revitalization by bringing in capital from the sales of goods and services
  6. Advance urban farming in Vancouver and provide inspiration and insight for others

Desired Outcome

  1. Train over a dozen inner-city residents
  2. Employ residents seasonally in urban agriculture
  3. Plant and tend to a half acre of above ground planters
  4. Achieve financial sustainability for the day to day operation of an urban farm
  5. Develop value added products and services through leveraging urban agriculture expertise
    • Landscaping & garden setup services
    • Canned value added product such as salsa
  6. Replicate success of SOLEfood elsewhere in Vancouver or another urban locale

Vancouver Green Capital

That is apparently our new marketing slogan. When I say our, I mean the City of Vancouver in this case. In a speech to our buddies over at the Board of Trade, the Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson outlined his strategy to attract green industry investment to Vancouver and the surrounding municipalities and raise our international profile.

This all sounds great, but as someone who works for an organization doing economic development in Vancouver, I’d like to see a little more than speeches and whirl wind speaking tours.

Majora Carter meets Mayor Robertson

Majora Carter meets Mayor Robertson

The Mayor and Majora Carter will both be speaking at Resilient Cities and the number of shoulder events continues to grow I just registered for the Board of Change one. We’ll see if this conference and these speeches have any effect in changing Hastings and Main.

This story is getting national attention and I guess our focus on around 40 blocks of the city, kept me from posting it ASAP. I think ultimately there are only so many people who have been organizing a green industry cluster and proposing a green economic zone.

Frances Bula and her readership have been discussing this in detail, there are just only so many hours in the day.

North Vancouver to start Urban Farm

Their city council, which is separate from ours here in Vancouver, has passed a motion allowing for the use of park land in a UBC led urban agricultural project. It is a five year pilot project.

We’re still working on some urban agricultural initiatives in the DTES and will be participating in the Resilient Cities shoulder event being put on by Smart Growth BC dealing with urban agriculture. See you at the Ideas Jam.

Ideas Jam
Tuesday October 20th
Century Restaurant & Bar, 432 Richards Street, Vancouver

Meet Cam MacDonald, Urban Farmer

Google Alerts delivered a story with the above title, complete with audio interview, from another local blog called VanGoGreen.  So on a break from my main duties at Building Opportunities with Business, I’m ‘reblogging’ the story.  We’re still putting a lot of effort and research into urban agriculture opportunities in the inner-city with partners like UBC and United We Can.

Besides Resilient Cities, another event BOB and the Green Inner-city Cluster members should have a presence at is FutureSocial which is an architectural contest seeking to explore the future of social housing/supportive housing.  This is being organized by Matthew Soules and other folks at UBC, BC Housing, and PHS.

Resilient Cities: Vancouver

This upcoming conference (October 20-22) is bringing some exciting speakers to town to speak on: green jobs, ecology, urban renewal, many of the things we blog about and are working on in Vancouver’s Inner-city.resilientCitiesOnePager

Building Opportunities with Business is going to have a booth and likely several other authors of this blog and green cluster members will be present and participating.  Here is the official promotional blurb:

Resilient Cities: Urban Strategies for Transition Times
A Gaining Ground conference in association with Smart Growth BC and in collaboration with the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics.
Date: Oct 20-22, 2009
Location: Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre, 999 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC
Web site: www.gaininggroundsummit.com
Email: info@gaininggroundsummit.com
Tel: 250-858-4600
Registration: Register online www.gaininggroundsummit.com/register.htm or by calling 250-472-4747

North American cities are facing transformational challenges in sustainability, economy, and urban management. Sustainability imperatives, the call for climate action, the prospect of a quickly shifting energy future, pressure for new approaches in almost every urban system, and the shock of the economic downturn have North American cities scrambling to comprehend and manage the shift toward ecological practices and greater resilience.

The conference will explore strategies to make cities more robust, and will enable participants to advance their thinking on three key subjects:

  • innovation in sustainability governance and best current practices for managing sustainable urban systems;
  • capturing opportunities in the green economy;
  • strategies for building widespread sustainability collaborations that engage the community level.

The speakers listed on their webpage include: Anita Burke, Gregor Robertson, Bill Rees, and Majora Carter who we had give the keynote at Sustainability 2.0.