In this remarkable book, farmer/activist Michael Ableman tells the captivating story of the creation of Sole Food, a community farm started in 2009 in the parking lot of the Astoria Hotel in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Sole Food’s aims are to provide meaningful employment for the area’s hard-to-employ residents and to operate a commercially viable farm.
Santropol Roulant’s meals-on-wheels program, servicing mobility-restricted individuals, has reached a beautiful level of integration now that they've added an organic farm operation to supply vegetables for their program. The farm fulfills the organization’s social mission and supports the development of aspiring young farmers, generating sustainable returns on small plots of land.
Among the manicured lawns edged with rhododendrons and ornamental grasses, one front yard stands out with rows of arugula, spinach and tomatoes. The grass is confined to the periphery of the yard.
Henriette (not her real name) greets me enthusiastically at the door of her large home in an affluent southwest Edmonton neighbourhood. “Come on in, the ‘girls’ are in the garage,” she explains.