Sustainable Urban Agriculture
Food brings people together. A passing of dishes over the dinner table and the sharing homemade goodies at potlucks instill warm memories in our tummies and in our hearts. SPEC, Society Promoting Environmental Conservation is a Community Chest member with Whole Foods Market Robson for the summer and we’re about building community around a sustainable food culture. Our food campaign has developed into our largest endeavour at SPEC and we work towards supporting and creating a resilient and low carbon food system.
Many school kids don’t understand where their food comes from. If you walk into any grocery store, vegetables seem to grow plentifully from florescent crates and in clear plastic bags. On a mission to educate students and teachers on where food actually comes from, SPEC has started seven different school gardens in Vancouver!
Beekeeping for Beginners students in their suits.
Kids learn how to seed, water and harvest different types of seeds including lettuce, pole beans, kale, carrots, garlic, and more. They also get to make their own salad and other recipes to taste and sample vegetables that they have not tried before. At the same time, students are also engaging hands on in science, social studies, math, health, and nutrition topics in a fun and interactive way.
Vancouver is blessed as one the few cities with a strong engagement with local food. It’s a little intimating to begin growing your own veggies when you’re surrounded by a myriad of community gardens (Vancouver has over 80!). The Urban Farmer Field School project helps with making it less frightening with hands-on approach to urban agriculture. In our second season, the courses run from April until November and classes are taught in our partner’s YWCA Metro Vancouver Rooftop Demonstration Garden.
Students from Queen Elizabeth Elementary planting garlic
Even if you’re an experienced gardener, we’re about empowering all backyard growers, community food activists, and sustainable entrepreneurs with experiential knowledge to be successful urban growers. Get your hands in the dirt to see what makes small buds blossom into delicious bright produce or learn how to manage a direct market small farm!
Our courses range from teaching urbanites about backyard chickens to gardening carpentry. Here’s the list of courses for July and August:
July 27th – Beekeeping for Beginners
July 30th – Plant Disease Management
August 10th – Beekeeping (Intermediate)
August 20th – Seed Saving: Advanced (Plant Breeding)
August 26th – Season Extension
The idea for Westside Community Food Market developed as a festive way to connect local food producers to their customers. In collaboration with Kits Neighbourhood house, it is a pocket farmer’s market located on W. 8th and Vine St. We bring together small-scale produce farmers and homemade chefs to liven up the sidewalks and make local food accessible in the Kits neighbourhood.
Cherry Lane Farms and Sev’s Bread at the Westside Community Food Market
The market is a great way for kits residents to meet their neighbours and have a conversation with the very people who grew and make your food! We’ll be hosting markets from now until Sept. 19th, every Thursday from 3 - 6pm.
SPEC is one of the oldest environmental non-profits in Vancouver. Since 1969 it works to engage and build capacity within local communities to enable lasting behaviour change towards urban sustainability. Its community-based programs look for solutions in the areas of food, energy, waste, water, and transportation.