Some exciting stuff is happening on the ground, demonstrating how to reconcile the ecological, social and economic imperatives for sustainable urban development. SOLEfood’s new downtown Vancouver site grows food, jobs and greens the city at the same time. Another initiative of United We Can, it shows the power of strategic partnerships between Vancouver’s city council, its business community, financial institutions and philanthropists that now employs 21 people and food production expected to grow from roughly 10,000 pounds to a projected minimum of 200,000 pounds. Led by Michael Ableman and Sean Dory from United We Can (see our case study), its main goal is to provide meaningful employment for people in the Downtown Eastside who’ve faced barriers finding work.
Another initiative, the Hastings Urban Farm, is a community collaboration where people will be able to get involved in growing and sharing food with other residents. The introduction of green space into the Downtown Eastside may contribute to more healing in the community by developing new network formation around food and health, especially critical to change addiction patterns.
The video, how we can eat our landscapes, shows the power of propaganda gardening, sprouting cemeteries, vegetable tourism to start the critical conversations necessary to transition to more sustainable development pathways. By finding the unifying language food, because if you eat, you’re in, across age, across income, across culture, and by spinning the community plate, the learning plate and the business plate, you can transform an entire community. In this example of one town, 49% of the food trade increased as a result of the volunteers who led this revolution, and now more than 30 towns in England are spinning the incredible edible place movement.