So nearly a month after the urban farmer meeting we are ready to release the summary document and project introduction.

I have pasted the Executive Summary here with a link to the full pdf below:

Advancing Urban Farming in Vancouver

Executive Summary

As Canadians become more and more aware of the effects of modern industrial food production on the health of the planet they are turning to alternative, more sustainable, food sources. Urban farming, a form of urban agriculture that is income generating, often collaborative, often coordinated across multiple sites, and frequently electronically documented is one of those alternative systems.

With the City of Vancouver looking to support urban food systems and a green economy as two of ten areas of focus in becoming the Greenest City in the World by 2020, the time is ripe to engage urban farmers so as to identify their needs in order to build and maintain successful urban farming businesses.

Chris Thoreau, in collaboration with Building Opportunities with Business (BOB), and with the support of the Vancouver Food Policy Council (VFPC), is coordinating a three-phase project aimed at gathering urban farmers together to collectively identify the barriers, challenges, benefits, and opportunities in urban farming in Vancouver.

BOB and the VFPC have contributed funds to support this project and a grant application has been submitted to the Organic Sector Development Program (OSDP) program for matching funds for a total project budget of $10,700.

Phase 1 involves an inaugural meeting to act as a who’s who in urban farming in Vancouver. It offers the chance for urban farmers and urban farming supporters to introduce themselves and their projects to each other, and to start sharing ideas and challenges.

Phase 2 involves a series of professionally facilitated working groups which will offer the chance for urban farmers to start building on ideas in more detail, looking for solutions, precedents, funders, and collaborators. Indicators to track the status of urban farming will also be developed.

Phase 3 involves drawing on the information collected from the working groups to begin the development of a formal urban farming network.

Phase 1 of the project took place on November 22nd with the inaugural meeting of Vancouver’s urban farmers. The meeting was attended by 50 urban farmers and supporters, representing 19 urban farming projects in Vancouver. Over dinner, participants introduced themselves and their urban farming projects or their support roles to urban famers. After dinner they broke into groups to start identifying some of the challenges urban farmers face in Vancouver, which were subsequently broken into five overall categories:

  • Business Development
  • City and Government Support
  • Cooperation
  • Land Issues
  • Infrastructure and Systems

After an enthusiastic first meeting, which has already generated related side projects, planning is now underway for the urban farmer working groups in early 2011, the results of which will be shared at a high-profile public event in the spring.