SOLEFOOD Farms brings paradise to a downtown parking lot

By Jenn Chic

Hardy, rich green kale, a rainbow of chard, and rows of the brightest red and pink radishes poking out of dark, rich soil. It doesnt sound like a parking lot but it is. In the shadow of BC Place just off of Expo Boulevard is the unlikely, but entirely strategic, location of SOLEFOOD Farms.

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Michael Abelman, one of the founding farmers of SOLEFOOD farms, pulls out a radish and dusts it clean. With a loud crunch, he exclaims, Mmmm! These are so good!

Abelman and his partner, Seann Dory, have created an urban farm like no other.

Because we dont own the land were on, we are entirely portable. We could pick-up this farm and relocate it at anytime, Dory explains.

This is the fifth SOLEFOOD that Abelman and Dory have created and with each farm comes a more efficient design.

Were not just growing food, were creating a model for sustainable food systems with barely any carbon footprint. It can be easily copied by anyone anywhere, says Abelman, looking over the rows of raised beds in custom built boxes.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicTheir farms are concentrated in downtown Vancouver using otherwise abandoned spaces to feed their community. Their staff is a team of impassioned apprentice farmers of every age and background.

We just want to grow really good food, says Dory.

Abelman has published many books on urban farming and his expertise has proven invaluable. They grow and harvest their vegetables in a European manner that is popular to many chefs in Vancouver.

The varieties are unique and method of harvesting ensures that all veggies are at their peak. They are building up a following for the sweetest radishes and so much more at the Vancouver Farmers Markets and through their CSA program.

Perhaps Joni Mitchell would be proud it seems a parking lots pavement has been covered by garden boxes full of... paradise!

For more information 1sole.wordpress.com and FieldsOfPlenty.com. Find SOLEFOOD farms produce at Vancouver Farmers Markets at EatLocal.org.

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