Urban Farming Handbook

Ryan Coffey
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Those of you living in Nanaimo as well as many other spots around the world may have noticed that there is an increasing shift towards producing more food from our backyards even in urban environments as well as eating locally sourced foods. Many have heard about the relatively recent expansion of the vegetable garden at the White House for example, and locally we have seen the City of Nanaimo decide to allow up to four chickens or ducks to be raised on a single family lot within city limits. I am currently working with the Island Roots Co-op here in Nanaimo where we are working on getting a brick and mortar year round location for local farmer’s so that consumers can find the locally produced goods that they have so far had to make trips to (popular) outdoor farmer’s markets on certain times, days and not have access during certain months of the year. But that’s not the end of it. It’s an ongoing shift that seems to be just picking up steam.

Apparently the shift is strong enough so that the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board ( aka VIREB, a regional body that governs us real estate professionals) released the following statement in its newsfeed today:

“The concept of Urban Farming is something that is taking root in British Columbia (pun intended). Urban Farming is the production and sale of food crops within the boundaries of a municipality – rather than in a rural setting as would be the traditional model. But the concern for many municipal governments is that there is often very little in the way of existing zoning provisions to allow property owners to grow and sell food on their inner-city land. That dilemma was the catalyst for the creation of the Urban Farming Guidebook – released online by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia (REFBC) January 14.
Working collectively with the EcoDesign Society (EDRS) and HB Lanarc the Real Estate Foundation has helped create this detailed (60 page) document subtitled: Planning for the Business of Growing Food in BC’s Towns & Cities . The Guidebook has been written to assist municipal planners, engineers and administrators gain a better understanding of the concept of Urban Farming. It also offers insights into potential problems and benefits while providing some approaches and tactics to employ to proactively plan for the introduction of urban farming. If you would like to learn more you can go to the Real Estate Foundation website (www.refbc.com) – or you can download your own copy of the Guidebook at this link.
Urban Farming is a movement that is becoming increasingly popular in British Columbia. The Urban Farming Guidebook is a resource to assist local governments and interested individuals in the establishment of this 21st Century take on the hobby farm.”

The .pdf of the handbook is downloadable and worth a read in my opinion.

Ryan Coffey