New urban gardens support Greenest City goals and Downtown Eastside job creation

February 14, 2012 | Jobs and the Economy

Vancouver City Council approved the creation of three new urban gardens today on unused city-owned land, expanding a program that supports Greenest City goals of increasing local food assets and providing new green job opportunities for residents of the Downtown Eastside.

“These new urban gardens will move us closer to our Greenest City goals of increasing local food assets and creating green jobs for low-income Vancouver residents,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “This is a great example of how the City can leverage underused assets to build community, provide economic opportunity and strengthen our environment.”

The City will sign three $1/year leases with the Blue Heron Charitable Foundation, whose project SOLEFood provides urban agriculture education and employment to Downtown Eastside residents. The leases are for unused or vacant properties at 331 W. 1st Avenue, 1580 Vernon Drive, and 1500 – 1550 Main Street.

These new urban gardens will increase the amount of available fresh produce in their neighbourhoods, with much of their organically grown food being sold to local restaurants and community organizations. Educational tours in urban agriculture will be offered during the growing season and the project will create at least ten employment opportunities for low-income Downtown Eastside residents.

“Expanding our network of urban gardens and food assets is an important step on our way to making Vancouver the Greenest City in the world,” adds Mayor Robertson. “With projects like this, Vancouver is continuing to prove that green leadership, job creation, and poverty reduction can all be achievable and mutually-reinforcing goals.”

To view the full City staff report adopted by Council, click here:  http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20120214/documents/cfsc2.pdf