Reported by Charlotte Drewett
Urban farming should be done in addition to community gardens, not in replacement of them.
As the weather changes, most people have probably put their gardens to bed according to Tasi Gottschlag, founder of FoodGROWS, an urban farming company that launched Oct. 22 with a retail space in South Vancouver.
Gottschlag said the idea is to allow people to grow their own food year-round.
“There’s different things that you can grow in a community garden and different things that really thrive when they get that attention from you everyday [at home],” she said.
Gottschlag really dug into growing her own food a few years ago, but said it’s hard to get a community garden plot.
Tyler Abbey, a horticultural specialist with FoodGROWS said they offer soil solutions and new, soilless technologies.
Abbey said when it comes to alternative farming options “everything has its place.”
Growing food at home has little effect on conventional farmers, Abbey said. “We definitely can’t replace conventional farming, that’s impossible. But, I think the more people that adopt some growing of their own food, that’s only going to improve conventional farming.”
Tara Moreau, associate director for sustainability and community programs at the UBC botanical gardens, said depending on what someone wants to grow, indoor farming can offer fun learning opportunities for people who don’t have outdoor access to garden space.
“You have to be careful about growing indoors, I think you can definitely set up a system, and I’ve seen some really nice examples,” Moreau said.
As for community gardens, Moreau said along with putting in time, there’s a social aspect to it.
“You’re talking across the fence to a neighbour and you’re like ‘what did you do?’ and ‘how did that work for you?’”
While growing indoors offers unique solutions, it leaves you more isolated, said Moreau.
Gottschlag said the intimate reaction someone has when witnessing their food grow on a day-to-day basis, is spiritual.
“Once you get into it, it really is kind of a surreal experience to grow your food.”
Photos by Charlotte Drewett.