Wednesday, January 17, 2007

City Farmer Interview

When I was in Vancouver a few months ago for the Bridging Borders Toward Food Security conference, I visited a number of Urban Agriculture projects, the most significant of which was City Farmer. City Farmer has been focusing on Urban Agriculture for almost 30 years and their web site is, for many people, the main portal into the diverse world of growing food in a city.

To visit City Farmer is to "step on hallowed ground". I was very fortunate to spend a beautiful October morning with Michael Levenston, Executive Director and Founder of City Farmer, and Joe Nasr, co-author of the seminal reference book Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cities (which is due to be re-published later this year).

I really like Michael's approach to Urban Agriculture, which is focussed on helping people to grow their own food. Thankfully, Michael agreed to be interviewed for my blog, and I asked him about the history of City Farmer, their main activities, the changes over the last 3 decades and about his own viewpoints on Urban Agriculture.

Click on the image above to view the interview
(QuickTime Movie, 09:17 minutes, 22.8 MB)

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City Farmer Location in Vancouver

Detail location of City Farmer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AND how long has city farmer been playing around with its concept of city farming? AND how much productivity has it put into action? And how much capacity building efforts has it sought to create or source for its community? Very little if you relate it to the big picture and the population base in its area. The attractive window dressing being displayed at its site sure fools those unaware as well as those in denial. Lets see some REAL and Tangible Action!!! enough of the hippie style of funky gardening and get your act together to deal with the serious challenges that are now upon us. There are real land issues you are unable to overcome, there are old techniques that are barely relevant to the million plus urbanites needing access to this resource. Do you really have any idea of how many carrots we eat daily?, let alone the rest of our diet? Are you doing anything related to food security technologies and applications? Have you implemented adaptations for climate change and public incentives for self sustainability? I doubt it, at least not in any visible and practiced manner. Although your efforts are greatly admired and your web site a great information network worldwide, ?why hasn't there been any display of new techniques that are applicable to urban horticulture, food security and food production? Simplified hydroponics is not the answer, its too long a learning curve and too centralized. Box gardens are okay but old design and inefficient. Enough fluff, the grants you received served little purpose towards progressive sustainability. Its time to use the best of your talents and creativity to initiate some resolve to this impending problem OR alternatively find someone who can. Your showcase garden site is now weak and lacks foresight; cute but not relevant other than for school tours and labor subsidies.
This is a critique on the current scenario facing us today and not intended to diminish your past efforts. There remains much admiration for all those who have put in the countless hours of volunteering and getting the community involved. However, you are fifteen years behind and need to be brought up to speed. There are creative alternatives available that directly deal with these issues of urban food development. You only need to seek them out as they exist in your area.
Best regards, M