Well, I am off to Terra Madre 2012 in Turin, Italy.  Via Seattle that is.  Terra Madre is  Slow Food International’s biannual celebration of all things food.  I am attending the event as part of a delegation of close to 60 participants coming from Canada including a dozen of us coming from BC.

It is early on Monday morning, October 22, and I am on the train to Seattle.  While it may seem a bit out of the way just to save $150 on a flight, it’s also a chance to spend a wee bit of time in our sister city across the border.  Oh, and to do some cross-border networking.  Upon arrival in Seattle I’ll be meeting with local urban farmer Nicole Capizzi.  Nicole owns and operates Amaranth Urban Farm in Seattle.  A snippet from her website:

Amaranth Urban Farm is a commercial urban farm located on two urban horse farms in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle and the formerly agricultural Kent Valley. Nicole and the farm crew members live and grow in the city, keeping travel and distribution costs low. We market organically grown produce, flowers, and honey through a Community Supported Agriculture subscription program and direct sales to restaurants and retailers, and our food never travels more than 10 miles to market. We also offer consulting services to help people develop viable urban farming projects, and share our model of a commercial urban farm through work shares, tours and presentations each year.

Urban farms are about people, and a great many friends and family members have pitched in with the work to get things off to a great start and to put their time and money where their values are.

I’m meeting with Nicole because I am traveling on a budget and I am hoping she will buy me lunch.  Ha ha.  No, really.  Nicole was in Vancouver last year around this time to give  a presentation on her urban farming experience in Seattle at the first Vancouver Urban farming Forum, which I helped coordinate. Seattle City Council has implemented progressive urban farming policies which validate  urban farming in that city (read ordinance here).   As we look to implement our own supportive policies here in Vancouver it is important that we look to precedents elsewhere to ensure our own policies are comprehensive and work to enable urban farming – not hinder it.

I look forward to spending few hours with Nicole this morning and getting a look at Amaranth Urban Farm while learning more about what has happened in urban farming in Seattle over the past year. I also look forward to sharing all the work that has happened in Vancouver over the past year including the formation of the Vancouver Urban Farming Society and the beginning of research into best practices for urban farmers in Vancouver.