Kitsilano Farms has created an urban farm in the heart of Vancouver by piecing together a collection of backyard gardens around the Kitsilano. Yard and garden owners throughout the neighborhood provide Kitsilano Farms with the space to grow produce that they can take to market or share with the community through their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
The CSA program includes a set number of harvest shareholders who join Kitsilano Farms at the beginning of the year. These households and families share in the bounty of the harvest throughout the growing season. This provides financial support for the farmers early in the spring when it is most needed. In return, Kitsilano Farms shares the fruits of an abundant and diverse harvest. In this way, the farm and families form a network of mutual support.
If you’re interested in offering gardening space on your property, be sure to contact the Chief Farmer, Craig Heighway. Keep your eyes open for the next urban farm sprouting up in Kitsilano.
Last modified: September 5, 2008
What is helping to spur the backyard farming trend is SPIN-Farming. Developed by Canadian farmer Wally Satzewich, SPIN is a franchise-ready commercial vegetable growing system that makes it possible to earn $50,000+ from a half-acre. SPIN’s growing techniques are not, in themselves, breakthrough. What is novel is the way a SPIN farm business is run. SPIN provides everything you’d expect from a good franchise: a business plan, marketing advice, and a detailed day-to-day workflow. In standardizing the system and creating a reproducible process it really isn’t any different from McDonalds. By offering a non-technical, easy-to-understand and inexpensive-to-implement farming system, it allows many more people to farm commercially, wherever they live, as long as there are nearby markets to support them. By using backyards and front lawns and neighborhood lots as their land base, SPIN farmers are recasting farming as a small business in a city or suburb, and it is now starting to be practiced throughout the U.S.,Canada, UK, Australia, Ireland and the Netherlands. You can see some of these entrepreneurial farmers in action at http://www.spinfarming.com