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Urban farming promises a fertile future
Cities have become incubators for the farmers of tomorrow.
By Ngaio Hotte
President of the Vancouver Urban Farming Society
May 28, 2013
Vancouver is home to around 30 “urban farms” – small businesses that grow food for sale within city limits. A census of urban farms by urban agriculture researcher Mark Schutzbank found that in 2011, Vancouver’s 10 urban farms sold $170,000 worth of produce. Two years later, more than three times that number of farming businesses are operating around the city.
Also in 2011, Statistics Canada found that there were 205,730 farms across the country, 10.3 per cent fewer than there had been five years earlier.
Why is the number of urban farms in Vancouver growing at the same time that Canadian farmers are closing the barn doors for good?
One reason is that Canadian farmers are getting older and younger generations are opting for other livelihoods. The average age of a Canadian farmer is 54. The lack of young farmers has Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the federal government department responsible for supporting the agricultural sector, somewhat on edge.