While much of our food is imported and/or transported great distances, Metro Vancouver is fortunate that the nearby delta, fertile valleys and a growing urban farming movement comprise our local food-shed. Supporting the urban and peri-urban farmers who grow our food helps to:
In phase 2 of the project, Extension for Small Scale Farmers, we look to do site visits to 40 farms, and develop innovative solutions to issues related to climate change, increased pest pressure, soil degradation and water scarcity. We want to facilitate knowledge transfer between farmers, academia and industry to build the local capacity of the sector.
From small, urban food producers to farmers located on the peri-urban edge, this project acknowledges that one of the most valuable assets a grower can have is a network of resources to draw on that is rooted in knowledge of local conditions. However, given there are no dedicated extension services, there is a clear need for mechanisms for growers in Metro Vancouver to access and share knowledge, especially around topics of climate change adaptation.
Often, these growers are expected to deal with environmental challenges on their own and at their own cost. This project serves to support these growers in finding much needed solutions and best practices that are site specific, current, adaptable to changing conditions and, most importantly, shareable. In this way, farmers can access better information without huge costs and augment the collective knowledge base of farmers in their area.
On January 21, 2018 SPEC held a Symposium for Small Scale Farmers, a full-day event centered around small-scale farmers in the Metro Vancouver area, featuring workshops and discussions about soil fertility and drainage, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), farmer resilience, and farm-specific issues. The idea was to not only inform farmers but to be a catalyst for farmer-to-farmers networking as well as knowledge exchange, and so within the event there was plenty of time for questions, discussions, and knowledge-sharing.
Here are the presentations from the event:
A big thank you to funders and partners for this program (2016-2018):
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