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Sole Food Street Farms

Local organic food organization.

Sole Food Street Farms is an urban agriculture project in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Founded in 2008 by Michael Ableman and Seann Dory, Sole Food's mission is to provide low-income residents of the Downtown Eastside with "jobs, agricultural training, and inclusion in a supportive community of farmers and food lovers." It is a subsidiary of Cultivate Canada, a local charity that promotes human ecology-related social projects. Sole Food is the largest urban farm attempted in Vancouver, and through it Ableman hopes to demonstrate that "urban agriculture can in fact be considered a serious enterprise for urban areas." He emphasizes that it is of a larger scale than community gardens, and that it could be a "serious enterprise for urban areas." Since its inception, Sole Food has been met with significant community support. Grants from a variety of sources including the city of Vancouver, banks, as well as philanthropists enable Sole Food to continue expanding their operations. Sole Food’s vision aligns closely with Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 Action plan to increase production of locally grown food, hence the city has provided them with generous support. Being a non-profit social initiative, priority is placed upon improving the community: employees, many of whom are current or recovering drug addicts receive paid training, and 10% of the produce harvested is donated to neighborhood agencies. Due to the small scale of Sole Food and the use of high quality seeds, the food produced is relatively expensive compared to conventionally grown crops. As such, the food grown does not go toward feeding impoverished residents of the Downtown Eastside, but rather to a number of upscale restaurants that specialize in locally sourced ingredients. The produce is sold to 30 restaurants in Vancouver that specialize in using locally-sourced ingredients. It also sells to 7 local farmers’ markets.

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