Canada: 1-Acre Urban Farm Planned Within Massive Vancouver Development


25 acres, 2,700 residential units (including market-rate condos, “affordable housing,” and supportive housing), child care, an adult day center, a 2.5 acre park, a one-acre urban farm, commercial space, health facilities, and more. More than 10 buildings, max to 28 storeys high.

Parks, Open Spaces and the Public Realm
Rezoning Application – Pearson Dogwood (500-650 West 57th Avenue)

3.1.4 Food Systems

A comprehensive Urban Agriculture strategy for the site will be centered around a 1-Acre Urban Farm with amenities to promote food production, education, and social engagement. This will be supported with smaller communal garden plots, fruit tree groves and native plantings around the site, as well as common rooftop areas where residents can grow their own food.

Along with the Urban Farm’s flexible programme to accommodate seasonal variability, other site-wide design considerations to promote ‘edible landscapes’ include:

Edible plants will be incorporated throughout the site as foundation plantings around patios, entrances, and open spaces;

Ornamental and sensory plants (ie. cut flowers, herbs, medicinal) can achieve a contemporary planting palette of bold forms, textures and accents around popular and highly visible public spaces, while enhancing healing and nurturing benefits of plants;

Integrating native fruit-bearing trees and shrubs bare fruit in public spaces, at edge conditions, and along easements and pedestrian corridors to provide easy access to the site’s vegetation;

Integrate flowering and sensory flowers and shrubs that attract bees, butterflies and other insects to increase pollination;

Promote habitat of native animal and bird species through vegetation, woody debris, logs and boulders, to enhance the biodiversity and ecological diversity on-site;

Combined into an overall Urban Agriculture Strategy for the site, the notion of “edible landscapes” is a great tool and forum for public education and involvement. Outdoor classrooms sponsored by the Urban Farm as well as the YMCA, “adoptive” garden plots for healing in conjunction with VCH, and interpretive signage as part of a larger “food system” narrative are three examples of the opportunities for promoting “edible landscapes” throughout the site.

3.4.4. Urban Farm

“The Farm that Grew A Thousand Farms”

The 1-Acre Urban Farm, located at the centre of Pearson Dogwood Lands, represents one of the strongest commitments the site has to “Healthy Communities” by ensuring food production, public interaction and education on food systems are prominent components of the site’s Open Space Network (See Appendix C for an analysis of different farm locations).

While most farm’s are geared toward food production almost exclusively, the Pearson Dogwood site offers a new set of challenges and opportunities for consideration that have influenced our approach to programming and design. Firstly, it is sited in an urban context, so space is limited. Volume of food production, while important, is not the only objective of the Farm. Secondly, while most farm land sits idle and barren from late Fall to early Spring, the Farm’s central location at Pearson Dogwood demands that it remains a usable, interactive and accessible space all year round. As such, there are opportunities to encourage social interaction by the public with certain components of the Farm, at different times of the year, that keep activity and programming within the Farm flexible and constant. Thirdly, we see the Pearson Dogwood Farm as a platform to education people on food systems and their importance at the local, regional and global scale.

Essentially, the goal is to create a unique Farm at Pearson Dogwood: one that functions as a traditional farm, with associated infrastructure and amenities; one that serves as a place where people of all ages and abilities can learn about food systems; and one where this knowledge and ideas can be expressed and communicated in ways that allow for public interaction and social engagement.

See more plans here.

Presently, Farmers on 57th has a well-developed urban farming project underway on the site.

December 2018. One of three, large market gardens operated by Farmers on 57th.

Farmers on 57th is a non profit organization which operates an urban farm with a CSA program, educational community gardens, and therapeutic accessible gardens in Vancouver, B.C.

In 2009, the Farmers on 57th group began an agricultural project to transform one acre of lawns at George Pearson Centre (GPC) into community integrated gardens. GPC is a long-term care facility for people with disabilities. It is home to 114 residents living with physical disabilities and is operated by Vancouver Coastal Health. They have welcomed the idea of growing food and flowers outside.

The name “Farmers on 57th” comes from the location of George Pearson- just west of Cambie and 57th Avenue in Vancouver. While we began as a project under the wing of the Disability Alliance of BC, in 2016 Farmers on 57th formed a non-profit organization.

Their website here.

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