Radishes

Often, I feel like radishes don’t get the respect they deserve – they’re easy to grow, quick to mature (28 days for many varieties), like cool weather, have punch-in-the-face flavour and delicious greens (perfect in soup and stir-fry).

Often, I am the first to trash-talk the radish once real vegetables are ready later on in the season.  So before the inevitable betrayal occurs, here’s some photos to honour the radish.

French Breakfast variety

Reds from the Easter Egg blend

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Iterative Regeneration

Our model of land ‘tenure’ (i.e. being invited to co-inhabit spaces with wonderful land-donors and therefore growing food on land that is not our own) comes with a few provisos:

1. We will inevitably lose a few yards each year (last year we lost 5! Heartbreaking really)
2. We will always have to find new land to convert each season (as per previous posts…)

So being in our 4th year of community engagement, we are developing quite an attachment to some of the spaces (and people) that have been around from the beginning. Here are pics of Ron’s place in Mount Pleasant. Ron’s been a huge supporter of our project and it has been an honour to grow veggies in his yard. His yard had such bad chafer beetle damage that we didn’t need to cut the sod, just raked it up, added manure, tilled and dug the beds.

First Season, spring 2010
Amazing corn that year!
Beautiful early season cauliflower and kale last year
Followed by killer bush beans and an epic monster of a volunteer sunflower
And just this week, a little love and ready to go

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More Spring Cleaning

We have been putting our new farm crew to work with sod removal and now garden revival. We sort of fizzled out last fall after the garlic plant and neglected a few of our spaces. Other plants, I have heard them called weeds, took the opportunity to enjoy some nutritious soil in the absence of other vegetative occupants. Regretfully, they new-comers have been evicted. Silver lining? They’ll become compost!

Steve’s backyard
Jen & Nicole plating potatoes
Rosco & Brennan & spuds
R & B and weeds
Melinda & Jen in the shade (and weeds)
Sunshine without weeds
Hosing off the mud in east East Van
Happy neighbours, Gladys & Trina, score some green garlic for dinner

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Yard Conversions 2013

The grunt work begins! We feel very privileged to be offered access to fellow community members’ spaces. Our project could not exist without their (your) generosity, so many, many thanks! We’ll try to post before/after shots to document the transformation throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Here’s a glimpse of our process from this weekend:

Preparing for the sod cutter

Many hands make light work
Rolling, scrapping, piling & moving
Ready for manure
Backyard action, same location
Tidy
                     

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BC Business Magazine Article

Someone just reminded me about the BC Business article about Inner City Farms that came out in 2011. In particular, the image of Andrew as a farming superhero. I thought it was worth re-posting here.

Thanks again for the great shots Blas.

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Hops!

We’re kicking up our urban hop production this year with the help of the lovely UBC Farm. They’re making some adjustments to their hop-yard and spreading the love to the community –  in the form of hop crowns and rhizomes for sale.

Kayla hooking us up!
Crowns!
Young shoots looking for some sun.

We hope to be providing modest amounts of fresh hops in the fall of the following varieties:

  • Fuggle
  • Nugget
  • Centennial
  • Mt Hood – a few seasons down the road, just planting rhizomes this year.

Here’s a good website with descriptions and uses of the different varieties.

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2013 CSA Poster

Kathmandu Urban Ag Project

Howdy,

Check out the efforts of some like-minded (global) citizens. Their project is called Hariyo Chowk, which means “Green Square” or “Green Commons” in Nepali. The group started transforming a small plot of land in Kathmandu into a community space last spring and have already built a bamboo structure for vertical gardening, a mudbrick oven for cooking, a sunken pit for fires, and a stage for gatherings and film screenings (bicycle powered too!). They’ve also started planting native and edible plants, and hosting work days and workshops. Impressive!

A quick glimpse of the group in action

Here’s their indigogo page if you are interested in helping them reach their goal of raising $5000 to help keep them growing.

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Mark Bomford’s TEDxYale presentation

This is an exceptional presentation by Mark Bomford, former (on-leave) director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm (aka UBC Farm). He provides a nice framework for understanding the role of urban agriculture in our global food system. Enjoy!

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Some ICF media videos

This past Sunday was incredible – sunshine, mild temperatures and favourable soil moisture. It doesn’t seem fair that we in Vancouver can begin working in the garden while the East coast is under so much snow. But as so many PE teachers and coaches have reminded me in the past, life isn’t fair, so I won’t spend too much time lamenting Canadian climatic injustices.

As a way to shake off (mild) winter lethargy and welcome the new growing season, I will take this opportunity to compile some videos featuring our efforts at Inner City Farms over the past few seasons. Taking a page from Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth‘s playbook, ‘reminisce, reminisce’!

CBC Vancouver  (Sept 22, 2011) – Profiling our connection with a local restaurant, food waste and vermicomposting in a closed-loop system.

CBC Suzuki Diaries (Feb 14, 2012) – Our interview with Sarika Suzuki as part of the Nature of Things’ focus on sustainable city initiatives.

Montecristo Magazine (Autumn 2012 issue) – We were fortunate to be included in Montecristo’s article on the blossoming local food movement in Vancouvergreat shots!

Meet Your Urban Farmer (Winter 2012) – This video is part of a series produced by the fine folk at Fire & Light Media

Season 4 begins…

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