Vancouver Dreamin’

Lessons on growing food and community from the “world’s greenest city” by Constance Wylie Social impacts are the sweetest fruit of urban farms. – Vancouver Farming Census “Hold up!” My partner and I were on an exploratory bike ride through the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood in Vancouver. I was wallowing in the pessimistic despair that hits […]

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Cultivating Hope

Therapeutic farming on the road to recovery by Trina McDonald On a sunny midsummer Sunday, people stream in and out of the courtyard of Our Place, a community centre and shelter on Pandora Avenue in downtown Victoria. Individuals representing an array of genders, ages, skin colours, and fashion styles mingle amidst a sea of personal […]

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Meat Sweats

More options may be coming for B.C.’s small-scale meat producers by Sarah Hughes Small-scale meat producers and processors are in a bind in British Columbia. The industry lacks proper oversight and struggles with tight capacity in peak months and a steady decrease in skilled labour, but help may be on the way. Scores of meat […]

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Together for Food

Island Health Food Security Hubs are growing a healthier Vancouver Island By Myles Sauer VANCOUVER ISLAND SPANS 32,134 square kilometres, with a population of approximately 799,000 people—nearly half of whom live in the Greater Victoria area. And while it probably goes without saying, every one of those people needs to eat. Ensuring that a population […]

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Gone to Weed

Will the need for weed disrupt the Agricultural Land Reserve’s roots in food production? by Sarah Hughes For something as cool as a cucumber, the production of recreational marijuana on B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) has turned into a blazing source of controversy. As legalization in Canada looms, farmers, cannabis growers, and food-security advocates all […]

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Island of Plenty

YOU’VE LIKELY HEARD by now that Vancouver Island only has a three-day supply of food. Keep that number in mind—and your cupboards stocked—in case there’s an emergency and the ferries stop running. It’s why we talk so much about food security. But do you remember where you first heard that figure? Like most “common-sense” theories, […]

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From Paris With Compost

What can we learn from 19th-century French market gardeners?  by Constance Wylie Always tend the smallest amount of land possible, but tend it exceptionally well. — unknown market gardener, Paris, 1800s HISTORICAL PRECEDENTS I grew up on a horse farm in North Saanich that produced upwards of 100 tonnes of manure each year. As a […]

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A Place to Grow Home

Welcome Gardens helps newcomers find food—and community by Myles Sauer One Friday evening last November, three teams of people, each assigned a random assortment of fruits, vegetables, and proteins, were asked to create a meal from scratch in the kitchen of St. Aidan’s United Church, a short drive from the University of Victoria. The event, […]

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Back to the Land Reserve

Can B.C.’s new government make the dream of food security a reality? By Sarah Hughes Farmers in British Columbia—or anyone who wants to buy farmland—still follow land-use policies written four decades ago. But times are a changin’. The newly appointed minister of agriculture, Lana Popham, plans to bring the Agricultural Land Reserve into the 21st […]

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Labour Pains

Canada is failing its seasonal migrant farm workers by Stephanie Harrington A SHORT DRIVE NORTH of Kelowna, as my car rounded a bend in the highway, the purple heads of thousands of echinacea flowers shimmered in neat rows, a pulse of colour among otherwise monochromatic grain fields. The temperature had tipped into the 30s on […]

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Don’t Bank On It

IT WAS THE best of times; it was the worst of times. On a mid-December morning in 2016, Styrofoam cups of Nescafé and smiling faces comforted the dozen or so people waiting in line with me at the Mustard Seed food bank. A light snow drifted to the ground as the line crept forward toward […]

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Feeding the Resurgence

  Around 30 of us sit in a circle on the carpet, shoeless and mostly cross-legged, like school children, waiting for the chance to speak. We have gathered in this room—somewhat dimmed, somewhat hidden—at the CRD headquarters, to take part in a “blanket exercise,” a workshop that explores the history of colonization on the Island […]

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Dining with the Devil

Across Canada, 40 per cent of the food we produce for human consumption goes to waste. Let that sink in. Some grocery chains are trying to stop that squander. On an average day, each of the eleven Thrifty Foods stores on southern Vancouver Island now donates 300 pounds of fresh produce that would have otherwise […]

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F/W 2015: Raw Deal

by Quinn MacDonald Do you know what a cow is? It seems like a simple question. But have you really thought about it? (If you grew up on a farm, you’re disqualified.) A cow is a bovine female that is producing milk. That means she’s had at least one calf. Before that, she’s a heifer. […]

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Contain Yourself

Freight container farms are popping up in cities around the world. Are they the best bet for food security in all climates? by Quinn MacDonald ON FAIR VANCOUVER ISLE, we often brag about farming and golfing year-round. But that gloating came back to bite us this year. It was a long, hard winter on the West Coast—at […]

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