Vancouver's Leader in Transition toward Strong, Resilient, Complete Communities
As an 'outsider' to the city of Vancouver, it's hard to feel a part of the village. Yet I believe teeny little acreages like mine--fallow for years, considered too small to be considered useful by conventional farmers-- have a huge role to play. Here I am staring at 4 acres of Maple Ridge land, envisioning its future as an intensive market garden producing under the 19th century French system of deep-organic principles, fueled entirely by horse manure and growing four seasons ala Eliot Coleman, trying to figure out; a) how I, one little person grunting with her wheel barrow can get 20 raised boxes into production, and right quick, with no tractor and no money; and b) how and where the produce that's coming (even if it's one damn tomato) can fit into Transition. It's quite a drive out here.
Discussion question: where do Fraser Valley small farms fit into the village and how can they benefit from its community members?
Excellent question Jennifer. Well, I'd say I'd like to see farms connect with neighbourhood villages (i.e. sell food to) in some organized way. There seem to be a variety of models - neighbourhood pocket markets, CSA's, pre-orders, NOW BC Co-op, pickup from farm, delivery to a front porch, and so on. David, didn't you comment about this a few months back re: coordinating around supplying what's not being grown in the neighbourhood?
Does that sound like Transition?
VV and Neighbourhood Food Networks convenor
Distribution is the key. There is enough work just to grow the produce, without having to manage the many steps and fall-backs necessary to ensure waste-free and equitable distribution.
By waste-free, I mean that no edible produce leaving the ground ever is discarded due to failure to sell in a given time-frame.
Equitable means that the produce captures a fair market price based on the ability of consumers to pay for it. There might be differential pricing to ensure those with less financial resources are not shut out of the market for healthy food.
Along with several other community groups, Village Vancouver is developing a flexible, community-based "Underground Market" system of distribution to fulfill these two goals, and ensure farmers receive the maximum financial return on their efforts.
We need to build a sustainable economic model where every participant receives what he or she needs.
When a basic distribution system is in place, we can begin equitable bargaining to ensure there is no waste.