Vancouver urban farm looks to open retail locations
Vancouver’s social enterprise urban farm is making plans to open a market in a converted shipping container and a produce stand inside Granville Island Market.
Sole Food Street Farms is kicking of ugg shoes f a crowdfunding campaign May 14 to raise the $100,000 required to retrofit the c ugg shoes ontainer as a market stand to be positioned at the corner of Main Street and Terminal Avenue and to equip it and the Granville Island location for retail sales.
“Five and a half years into our existence . we are coming to the point where we have our systems stabilized and we have more ugg shoes product than we are selling,” said co founder Michael Ableman.
Sole Food last year produced 20 tonnes of fruits and vegetables for 37 restaurant clients, 100 families who buy weekly vegetable baskets and their farmers market stands on 4.5 acres of land in and around the Downtown Eastside. The farm employs 20 people with a variety of employment challenges from the neighbourhood.
“We are trying to marry a social goal with an agricultural goal, both of which have elements of the impossible about them,” said Ableman. “We are doing highly productive agriculture on pavement in the middle of the city and we’ve taken on a group of people who had no skills, many of whom hadn’t worked much more than a few months at a time, but we are finding ways to make all that work.”
Although Sole Food has been generously supported over the years by the City of Vancouver, Vancity Community Foundation and other charitable organizations, crowdsourcing this expansion is the farm’s way of reaching out to the city and its potential clientele.
“Where we feel we still need work is on the sales and marketing end,” he said. “We’ve been very foc ugg shoes used on setting things up on the farm sites and proving our methods, so this campaign is about engaging with the broader community as much as anything else.”
Crowd funding allows people to donate directly online to projects that “accelerate the change they want to see in their community,” according to Sole Food’s marketing materials. People who pledge donations will be eligible to receive gift certificates for produce, access to special events and branded tote bags.
“We are raising money, but it’s more than that,” Ableman said. “We want to build stronger relationships, we want Vancouver to understand that what we have here is something to be proud of. What we are doing at the scale we are doing it at, it’s pretty much unheard of.”
“This is an opportunity for people to participate in what we are doing on whatever level they can,” he said.