YWCA Metro Vancouver Rooftop Food Garden
YWCA Metro Vancouver’s Rooftop Food Garden is an urban treasure that provides healthy, nutritious food to low-income single mothers and their children at YWCA programs such as Crabtree Corner, a family resource centre in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
This innovative project began in the summer of 2006 when YWCA Metro Vancouver staffers decided to experiment with growing produce on the roof. Staff gradually transformed the rooftop garden from an ornamental location into a fruitful community garden that yielded over 150 kilograms of produce in its first summer. What started in 2007 with a harvest of more than 450 kilograms of food has grown, by 2012, to 720 kilograms.
New partnership creates SPEC-YWCA Urban Farmer Field School
YWCA Metro Vancouver has teamed up with the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) to create a new hands-on training program that turns the rooftop food garden into a living laboratory where students learn about sustainable urban horticulture.
The SPEC-YWCA Urban Farmer Field School offers courses related to small-farm business planning, sustainable food production, food systems, urban soil management, city chickens and coops and season extension. Class instructors are experts in urban agriculture and food systems and provide both classroom theory and practical learning.
Find out more on the SPEC-YWCA Urban Farmer Field School.
Nurtured by volunteers
The production of the garden relies on volunteers. Many staff and volunteers dig the dirt on their own time. In 2012 alone, more than 50 volunteers contributed 640 hours to seed, weed, plant and harvest.
Providing exceptional food to the Downtown Eastside
The Rooftop Food Garden grows high-quality, organic fruits and vegetables, which are then harvested and taken to Crabtree Corner, where they are used in the Community Kitchen. To date more than 3,000 kilograms of produce have been donated to Crabtree Corner.
While Crabtree Corner often receives donations of canned goods and other non-perishables, it is less common to be offered fresh produce. The Rooftop Food Garden provides much-needed nutrition to supplement the diets of women and children on the Downtown Eastside.
A Model of Sustainability
As the YWCA increases its focus on environment, the Rooftop Food Garden promotes awareness about sustainability and community health while helping to reduce our ecological footprint.
Download the rooftop food garden brochure.
For information on the Rooftop Food Garden contact:
tel 604 895 5792