Carrot City Designing for Urban Agriculture

Sole Food Street Farms

Exhibit Category / Catégorie de l'expo: Community & Knowledge

Location/Emplacement: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Dates: n/a
Designers/Concepteurs: Michael Ableman and Seann J Dory
Clients: n/a

More Information/Plus d'informations: n/a
Image Credits/Crédits d'images: Michael Ableman and Seann J Dory

Project Description: (version française ci-dessous)


Sole Food Street Farms—now one of North America’s largest urban farm projects—has transformed acres of vacant and contaminated urban land into city farms that grow artisan-quality fruits and vegetables. Sole Food has empowered dozens of individuals who are managing addiction and chronic mental health problems by providing jobs, agricultural training, and inclusion in a community of farmers and food lovers. Sole Food’s mission is to encourage small farms in every urban neighborhood so that good food can be accessible to all, and to do so in a manner that allows everyone to participate in the process.

Currently operating four urban farms, Sole Food is based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, the poorest postal code in the country, and a place notorious for its poverty and crime. They employ individuals facing multiple social and economic barriers with the aim to facilitate agricultural education, self-growth, and community development. Sole Food has pioneered a creative lease program that provides developers and owners of valuable urban land the incentives to lease to the farms.

Food production is carried out through an innovative raised moveable planter system which addresses the two most common challenges for urban food production anywhere: high land values and resulting short-term leases and contaminated soils. Using high-density planting techniques, vertical planting towers, and rapid crop succession, Sole Food’s production can be 15-25 times higher than conventional open field farm plantings. Sole Food Street Farms is focused on operating at a scale that generates production quantities of food and jobs. Farm products are distributed through local farmers markets and restaurants and through a farm share program.

The organization was founded by farmer/ author/photographer Michael Ableman and project manager Seann J Dory. The two had a mutual desire to create an urban agriculture project that was truly agricultural, and to address some of the challenges faced by individuals with barriers living in low-income urban communities. Sole Food is wholly owned by registered charity Cultivate Canada Society, which oversees its activities and operations.

The story of the Sole Food Street Farm and the individuals it employs is told in the recently published book Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier (Chelsea Green 2016) by Michael Ableman.

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Scale (Carrot City Category)


Location: City

Location: Country