We are a young couple living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (zone 7 for those gardeners out there). We work nine to five like the rest of the world, but afterwork and on weekends we are urban farmers; we are slowly turning our standard sized city lot into an edible eden. When we started this, neither of us were master gardeners by any stretch of the imagination, and we think that’s important for you to know. Anyone can do this. We are, however, curious and aren’t afraid of a little hard work as long as there’s cold beer involved and the promise of amazing toasted tomato sandwiches at the end of the summer.
Both of our childhoods include memories of growing and eating our own food – me in my mum’s backyard garden and my fiance on his family’s farm in eastern Canada. Guided by a love and respect for the food traditions of our grandmothers, that have almost been forgotten, we are working to once again include them in our lives in a meaningful way. Advised by family recipes, calls home to mom and memories of watching our grammas roll pie crust, we are slowly learning and relearning how to feed ourselves and gain some independence from a food industry that does not respect our health, the environment or the farmers on whose backs and heartbreak it’s empire is built.
We are not militant in our endeavor. Although we live in the city that gave birth to the 100 mile diet, we are not interested in subsisting on foraged wild greens or pledging to a life without coffee, sugar or chocolate. We applaud the people who have made that choice and are thrilled that there are fantastic restaurants in Vancouver where we can eat and be comfortable in the knowledge of where the food came from. But what we are seeking is balance and a practical solution that acknowledges that although we dream – we aren’t there yet and there are going to have to be some compromises along the way.
We want our children to know the warmth of a home that smells of fresh baked bread, to have the knowledge and skills to feed themselves and their families, to know that food comes from the ground – not the supermarket, and to know the sheer simple pleasure that comes from watching the miracle of a tiny seed grow into something that has the ability to nourish both their bodies and their souls.