urban agriculture

BLOG: Celebrating Canadian Agriculture Day

Happy Canada's Agriculture Day!

Today is a great day to thank a farmer! I love opportunities to recognize the hard work done on farms around the country and there is a lot to celebrate in Canadian Agriculture. However, I will start with a reflection on some challenges facing farming in Canada. In the last twenty years the number of farms has shrunk dramatically and today farmers are scarcer and older than ever before. Between shrinking numbers and more Canadians who live in cities, fewer of us have ever met a farmer. If so many Canadians don’t know about farming I think we are justified in wondering who the next generation of farmers will be. But I have good news! There is a lot of energy and effort going into helping the next generation of our food producers. It is also great that the urban-rural lines that are often drawn between producers and consumers are blurring: more people are growing their own food, going to farmers markets, participating in community gardens, and trying out commercial urban agriculture.

The demographics of urban agriculture are very different than traditional farms. Urban farmers tend to be younger, their farms are smaller, the entry costs tend to be low, and they often involve their community as stakeholders or volunteers. The social aspects of urban agriculture are often celebrated. The Garden Patch, for example, is dedicated to teaching people about food production and good gardening techniques. This year 2,300 people visited the garden and many of them left with a clearer picture of what growing food in the heart of the city looks like. It is so exciting when people get inspired to grow their own food or get their hands dirty harvesting food for our Emergency Food Hampers. I believe strongly that we cultivate more than just food, we cultivate community.

Something I like to ask people when I give a tour is: “do you know a farmer?” Depending on the group a few people will raise their hands, definitely more here than when I lived in Winnipeg. Then I try to ask some follow-up questions: Have you visited CHEP’s Askîy project? Do you know someone who has a plot in a community garden or allotment? Have you visited the Garden Patch before? Do you know a Beekeeper? These are all examples of growing food and many of them are community focused. I will also remind people that farmers are not mysterious entities. Have you gone to the farmers market? Do you or your parents get weekly veggies through a community supported agriculture (CSA) project? By this time many more people’s hands are raised. Farming takes many forms and I like to keep the definition inclusive.

A look at how the land where the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre Garden Patch now is has evolved over the years.

A look at how the land where the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre Garden Patch now is has evolved over the years.

Urban agriculture has a bright future. The opportunities in this dynamic sector of agriculture continue to change and evolve. The Saskatoon City Council recently amended their vacant lot adaptive reuse strategy (VLAR) to make it possible to grow food on vacant lots, you can grow food on boulevards, or keep bees. There are so many opportunities that I have missed that I can only apologize and say you are awesome too! Soon we may see green walls, more edible landscaping and green roofs, a food forest, or a community orchard. The possibilities are endless and there are urban spaces that will produce food in the future that we cannot even grow grass on today. So in closing I hope you take a moment today, or any day this year, and think about the amazing people who grow our food. Some of them live in Saskatchewan, others are a part of a huge global community of food producers. However, the ones I think you will have the easiest time thanking face-to-face are the ones who live right next door.

Thank you!

Adrian Werner
Urban Agriculture Program Manager
Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre

If you're interested in getting more involved in urban agriculture in Saskatoon, consider forming a team and Adopt-A-Plot in our Garden Patch.  

We're Hiring in the Garden Patch!

The Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre Garden Patch is now hiring for the 2017 growing season!  We're looking for individuals with a passion for food security, urban agriculture and educating others about these topics. There are currently four positions posted, three of which are summer student positions.  

Job Descriptions

Summer Student Positions

To apply for any of the above positions, please send your resume and cover letter to the Urban Agriculture Program Manager, Adrian Werner, at office@saskatoonfoodbank.org by the application closing date.

 

 

OATS peas beans and barley grow...

This World Food Day  we welcome volunteers from Cargill  who come equipped with 60 - 10kg bags of oats from Horizon Milling to donate. This will provide enough for about 1500 people!

We've gotten used to seeing Cargill lugging compost through the Garden Patch , our urban agriculture initiative, as a team  and major sponsor for the past two years and we look forward to having their help in our warehouse and clothing depot today.

At the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre we have a vision of a food secure community where all people have access to safe, affordable, and nutritious food.

Oats are great for so many reasons and it's no wonder clients really appreciate receiving it in their food baskets. Oats are slow to digest which means you feel full for longer also making it a diabetes friendly food. It can be used to bulk up dishes, blended and used for flour and combined with fruit to increase calories and subsequently energy.

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Harvest Time!

   

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Harvest time is here at the Garden Patch!

Volunteers have been busy helping with the harvest at the Garden Patch the last few weeks. Please join us on Saturday August 24th for a Group Volunteer Day. Come lend a hand at the Garden, or come to visit and look around. Drop in between 7AM-1PM. No need to RSVP. Families Welcome!

Please contact Brit.m@saskatoonfoodbank.org with any questions. Please bring water, and sun protection!

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Weedin' Wednesday continues until the end of September. Join us at the Garden every Wednesday between 4PM - 8PM. Drop by and lend a hand or come say hi!

No need to RSVP. Drop in. Families Welcome!

Where is the Garden Patch?

The Garden Patch is located on the 900 block of 3rd Ave N.

Check HERE for a map.

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[gdl_gallery title="Garden Update" width="150" height="150" ]

Season Finale

Our third growing season is officially coming to a close.  Our dedicated volunteer Ernie is mowing down the corn field in preparation to till it under and put the 900 block of 2nd Ave N to rest for the winter.  With the help of our amazing community we have grown over 21,000 lbs of fresh produce for hungry families in Saskatoon!!  Stay tuned for a video project chronicling this years progress and an extensive list of

THANK YOU'S!!!