Sole Food Street Farms launched a funding campaign on Indiegogo the other day. They need to raise $100,000 to cover the cost of renovating two buildings in Vancouver’s DTES, outfitting them for food selling, and hire the 26 full-time, permanent employees this farm expansion requires. One will be a local organic market, and the other a permanent stand at the Granville Island Public Market. Both locations will be open 7-days a week offering fresh foods year around.
The first time I heard about Sole Food up in Vancouver, I was impressed with the innovation employed in their approach to farming on top of what is sure to be toxic ground – an abandoned gas station property. There are urban farms sprouting up all over the world that raise their crops in soil, but most are doing so in the existing ground soil. This is definitely the least expensive way to go about growing food, but in many places the soil is contaminated where property is available to farm in an urban environment. Sole Food’s crops never touch the ground.
There is also the problem of urban farmers never knowing when they will have to literally pull up roots and move their endeavors to a new location. Sole Food had this probability covered before they planted their first seed. Their specially designed growing containers are mobile, and can be loaded onto trucks and moved at the drop of a hat… or a developer’s whims. Not just small row crops, but an entire orchard of some 400 fruit trees.
The planning and foresight behind this particular urban farm endeavor is excellent. You’ll never see an announcement of this not-for-profit social endeavor fighting City Hall or developers with big pockets in the news. They can move any one of their multiple farms in a single day, the entire crop, without any damage or loss. And they grow primarily in soil.
And now, after 5 years of successful cropping, their harvesting capabilities have reached a point that rather than just supplying local restaurants with fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables they need to expand into retail sales. It’s the only way that a major portion of the food they produce will not go to waste. Doing so requires funding, and for this kind of operation, only crowd-funding will work.
Even if you aren’t from the Vancouver area, pledging your assistance in the next step of their growth will help to further the good food movement and it’s impact on cities far and wide. Sole Food is a model operation whose processes and practices, if replicated, can bring the same level of success to urban farms everywhere. Not many of them are capable of harvesting over 20 tons of locally grown, seasonal foods every year. Yet, Sole Food’s farms do annually, and this figure is sure to increase as their orchard trees mature.
For more info and to place your pledge, visit the Sole Food Farms funding campaign. To investigate deeper into how Sole Food operates, normally I would give you the link to visit their website. But right now, during their campaign, you can’t view it. They’ve got a temporary redirect in place. The URL is: http://solefoodfarms.com, but going there only takes you in a circle back to their Indiegogo page. You’ll just have to try checking out their website about June 2nd. The Indigogo campaign ends on June 1st.