In 2008, Seann Dory was one of the participants in our SFU Applications in Sustainable Community Development course. At the time he was working at United We Can, a container recycling depot that employs residents of the downtown eastside (DTES). As we toured, Seann met some folks who had an idea to turn the DTES into a green zone, to relax some of the regulations so that green social enterprises could flourish. As Seann proceeded through the SFU certificate program, his idea for an urban farm that employed DTES residents began to take shape. He connected with Michael Ableman of the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens. Michael was now living on Salt Spring Island. And Sole Food farm was born. The farm has big plans. Read the press release below to see how you can help.
|Vancouver’s Sole Food Street Farms cultivate dreams in Vancouver’s poorest neighbourhood.
|Many of you will know Michael Ableman’s Vancouver based project Sole Food Street Farms. Big moves are in the works for Sole Food, $100,000 big moves to be exact – and we think you’d like to know about it.In 2009, Michael Ableman co-founded Sole Food Street Farms in Vancouver’s poorest neighbourhood, the Downtown Eastside. Sole Food, a not-for-profit social enterprise, farms artisan quality fruits and vegetables on vacant lots while providing 26 jobs to people struggling to overcome poverty and addictions.“We have people who have worked with us from the beginning who before had never held a job for more than a few months,” Ableman said in an interview with The Province.“We’re not trying to save anyone, we’re not a social service, but we’ve provided a platform for them to grow something real and the results have been profound.”The organization truly marries agricultural innovation with meaningful social goals.Sole Food has always operated with the mandate of becoming a self-sustaining organization and currently pays its operating costs with produce sales from a 100 member strong CSA program, 6 weekly farmers markets, and over 37 restaurant clients.
However, five-and-a-half years into its existence, Sole Food has stabilized its systems and they are growing more product than they can sell. In the absence of a local food hub in Vancouver, Sole Food is finding creative ways to build and fund a stronger local food economy.
The organization has recently launched an ambitious Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to set up two new retail locations – one at the corner of Main and Terminal streets, an up-cycled shipping container, and one at the iconic Granville Island Public Market. This will make Sole Food the only local organic grower at the market, a niche that is projected to help them double sales and provide year-round employment for their core staff. This one-time cash injection will propel the organization forward and scale-up Vancouver’s local food system.
Visit Sole Food Farm’s Indiegogo page to make a one-time donation:
Your small donation of $50, $100 or even $25 is pivotal, and really represents an opportunity to do something extraordinary for our community.
As an added perk, donors will receive produce back in gift certificates, redeemable at Vancouver markets, or invites to catered dinners on the farm.
Even the smallest contribution makes a huge difference!
Please donate today.