The City of Vancouver (and related municipalities) should fast-track their trimming of bylaws that prevent urban farming. It's an innovative industry whose time has come.
It seems the City of Vancouver is going to take a scythe to the tangle of laws that prevent urban farming businesses within the city boundaries.
Urban farming has a lot of “green” and locavore overlay, so it’s often sneered at by more, shall we say, urban folk. But when you really get down to it, it’s about creating more innovative small businesses within the city. Even the ultimate downtown hipster can get on board with that.
Aside from professional services, we have very little industry in this region. Visitors often wonder what everyone does here to make a living (I usually tell them we take in each other’s laundry – hey, it’s almost a living). Certainly, there’s not much opportunity for young people to form their own businesses, which many of them want to do.
Face it, not everyone can work in technology or digital media, let alone law, finance, retail, real estate and the other usual suspects when we talk about businesses here.
And despite the the granola and good-for-the-earth aura around urban farming (remember the backyard chickens controversy?), it’s an idea whose time has come – it's an interesting innovation that, aided by technology, proposes to transform the way we look at cities and our food supplies.
Currently, most of our food comes from agri-industry, usually in other counties, and is shipped here over long distances. This strikes me as not only pretty wasteful, but also kind of silly.
Why fly- or truck-in industrialized food to a notably foodie city when we can grow some of it here and, at the same time, help some entrepreneurs without big financial backers have a fighting chance of survival?
Around the world scientists are studying how food farming can be brought into the cities, whether on unused land, in “vertical farming” setups, or integrated in various buildings, to also clean the air. There are many new methods today that can create intensive farming in small spaces like city lots.
I’m sure there are also many smart people here who can grow food in front yards, back yards, old warehouses and other industrial buildings. All you have to do is go to any area thick with immigrants and you can see that it’s already done in a smaller way.
So let’s put all that unused energy and land to use to create another 21st century industry.