Would you buy hyper-local fresh veggies out of a retrofitted shipping container?
That’s the plan proposed by Vancouver’s best known urban farm, Sole Food. Over the past five years, the unique “street farm” initiative has transformed nearly 5 acres of vacant lots around Vancouver into thriving agricultural land. Now Sole Food is set to kick off a fundraising campaign to open its first retail locations.
The plan is to raise $100,000 to purchase and equip a metal shipping container to serve as a produce stand, according to an article by the Vancouver Sun’s Randy Shore. The container would sit on a Sole Food farm at Main Street and Terminal Avenue, one of the busiest intersections in the city. The funds would also be used to open a retail outlet inside the popular Granville Island Public Market.
Last year, Sole Food produced 20 tonnes of fruits and vegetables at its four urban farms in False Creek, Strathcona, East Vancouver and Main Street. Much of this was sold to 37 local restaurants, 100 families who pay for weekly vegetable baskets and shoppers at Sole Food’s on-site farm stands. But lots of produce also went to waste – a problem that the farm’s founders hope to fix by ramping up retail operations.
The new crowd-funding campaign kicks off on May 14. Donors will receive gift certificates for Sole Food produce plus the satisfaction of knowing they’re contributing to a good cause. Apart from bringing farms back to Vancouver, Sole Food also provides employment for 20 people from the city’s Downtown Eastside who face a variety of mental challenges and addiction issues. The farm’s unique social-agricultural initiative empowers individuals with limited resources by providing jobs and a sense of community, while also supplying city dwellers with fresh produce grown just around the block.
More information about Vancouver’s unique urban farms and the fundraising campaign is available on the Sole Food website.
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