The increasing price of food, combined with high and increasing rates of obesity and food insecurity, are prompting the growth of various forms of urban agriculture: community gardens, urban homesteads, and urban farms. Urban farmers, unlike other urban agricultural projects, farm to make a living. They raise produce and grow ornamentals to sell in their community, while building food literacy and comfort for customers and the surrounding community. As we look to develop localized and sustainable food production systems, it is imperative to understand what, if any, models are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. Previous research has typically focused on community gardens and their social benefits, leaving much unknown about entrepreneurial urban farms. This study takes a first look at the business models and economics of Vancouver’s urban farms through a newly developed tool, the "urban farming census". This tool reveals revenues, costs, financing, and sales models of urban farmers as well as their community connections and benefits. The results show how urban farmers attempt to pay themselves and their employees a living wage.
|Keywords:||Urban Agriculture, Sustainable Community, Community-based Action Research, Urban Farming, Food Systems, Local, Entrepreneur, Business Models, Agricultural Enterprises|
MSc. Candidate, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Associate Professor, Applied Biology, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Canada