Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Real Food for Change

As the 2013 garden season came to a close, a few of our incredible, dedicated interns came to us and asked how they could best be a part of the improvement and evolution of Inner City Farms (ICF), now that they’d completed their season’s engagement with our urban farm. They were particularly interested in working to address some of the gaps we have identified in our goal of being a sustainable small business. We shared with them an idea we’ve been kicking around for a while, but haven’t had the time to pursue holistically. We’ve been calling it: “Real Food for Change”. They have taken it upon themselves to develop the project further and we couldn’t be more excited and honoured that they are putting their time, effort and expertise into making ICF better; making Vancouver better, one backyard garden at a time. They are now spearheading this project.
Tending to the beans

 Here’s how it works: Firms sponsor an urban farm harvest share that will be distributed through ICF’s partnerships with community kitchens and non-profit organizations that provide meals for under-served populations in Vancouver. Inner City Farms provides, through Real Food for Change, an opportunity for the business community to improve the health of our city by increasing access to locally grown food to diverse communities in the city.

At ICF we consider “health” to be multi-dimensional: personal, familial, community and ecological spheres all need to be considered in our definition of a healthy city. One valid and recurring critique of the local food movement is that “local-sustainable” is seldom accessible to residents and families of all income levels. We grow food in Vancouver and strive to be sustainable. We rely on the classic three-tiered definition of sustainability: ecological, social and economical. It is our view that working toward equitable distribution and increasing access to healthy, Vancouver-grown food to everyone who shares our city, regardless of income, background, status, or postal code, is a responsibility and a goal; it’s an attempt at addressing the social dimensions of sustainability and bringing Vancouver closer to a holistic definition of healthy.

Riveting Radishes
Simply, we want the benefits of the food we grow to be available and accessible to as many residents of our city as possible. Our hope is to engage diverse organizations and individuals to ruminate on this a bit. We believe that equal access to the highest quality food for all moves us all closer to socially, environmentally just and healthy communities. We like that movement, and we have a desire to work for it. We know we share that with many others too, and we are actively engaging anyone with similar values and interests into the conversation. All ideas and all connections are welcome.

Businesses or organizations that get involved and invest in a harvest share sponsorship are invited to take part in customized, interactive, teambuilding workshops and participatory experiences in our urban farms. The Inner City Farms team will structure and facilitate these events and mentor workshop participants. Employees will gain hands-on experience on how to grow their own food while cultivating and harvesting the vegetables going to the organization their company has sponsored.

Teamwork in the garden

If you’re interested in learning more, or participating in Real Food for Change, please get in touch at, and stay tuned!

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