Mr. Teulon has 65 raised beds on top of the Freesia condo tower on Seymour Street, after he was asked to take over the unused space, along with gardens that he farms in 13 other single-family yards near his house near 21st and Fraser streets on Vancouver's east side. Mr. Teulon and four other friends who also do urban farming are now planning to add a five-acre piece of Richmond land to their agriculture empire so they can expand their operations even more. That expansion of Mr. Teulon's for-profit operation parallels the explosion of interest in community gardens, farmer's markets and local-food diets that has emerged in the past few years. But experts say his type of operation has more potential to make a significant difference in local food production than the popular, but mostly hobby-oriented community gardens, especially if cities start using their land and buildings more creatively. The rule of thumb in the urban-ag world is that one person can comfortably farm 2.5 acres, which is enough to provide 100 people with fresh produce. And, when you look around, there is space everywhere.More good news: we are going to need local food badly when peak oil makes imports too expensive and greenhouse gas emissions are verboten. Pressure your local city: ask them to allow and encourage urban agriculture on rooftops and in backyards. Green roofs not only supply us with food: they reduce energy consumption, help control stormwater runoff, and reduce the urban heat island effect. They also create green space.
Sunday, January 3, 2010