Private and Public Partners Work Together to Help SOLEfood Create its Largest Urban Farm

Private and Public Partners Work Together to Help SOLEfood Create its Largest Urban Farm

Concord Pacific farm site is second of several planned urban farms that will generate locally-grown produce and provide agricultural training and employment in Vancouver’s core

Vancouver, BC (May 10, 2012): A two-acre urban farm at the corner of Pacific Boulevard and Carrall Street is being readied for planting, thanks to a major financial contribution from the Vancouver-based Radcliffe Foundation, and land supplied by Concord Pacific Developments.

The SOLEfood project creates production farms in Vancouver’s core.  The produce grown goes to farmer’s markets, local restaurants and wholesalers, and direct to consumers.  SOLEfood provides agricultural training and employment to local residents, many of whom have barriers to traditional employment. The project expects to employ 25 people this year.  

The farms utilize planters that can be moved to new locations at the end of the lease period. SOLEfood’s first farm is a half-acre site adjacent to the Astoria Hotel on East Hastings.  The new two-acre farm completed this week on the Pacific Boulevard site was leased by Concord Pacific for a three year period.

The Vancouver-based Radcliffe Foundation has contributed $475,000 to SOLEfood’s expansion. The Foundation was created by Vancouver philanthropist and foundation President Frank Giustra, to improve livelihoods worldwide through international and local charities, “We were excited when we heard about SOLEfood, because it will create jobs and provide training for those most in need, while producing excellent locally-grown produce. Through SOLEfood, the employees will learn a skill that they retain lifelong, while creating something that can be enjoyed by the entire community.”

“We compliment the current property tax system that encourages land owners to allow these kinds of temporary urban farms, and we expect to see many more of them spring up all over the city,” added Matt Meehan, Senior Vice-President of Planning for Concord Pacific. “We congratulate Frank Giustra on his good work and Concord will follow suit by putting any property tax savings into a foundation for future green projects and initiatives such as SOLEfood.”

SOLEfood Farms is a project of Cultivate Canada, a registered charity founded by Michael Ableman and Seann Dory.  Michael is renowned in the field of urban agriculture and has inspired dozens of initiatives throughout North America and the Caribbean.  Ableman and Seann Dory co-direct SOLEfood’s operations. “This project is world-class not only in scale, but also in its innovative production methods married to its social goals,” Ableman said. “We are thrilled to demonstrate the best available practices in intensive urban food production, to provide meaningful employment and build resilience in a neighbourhood left out of the traditional food economy.”

“This is a significant step towards making Vancouver a showpiece for this movement,” Ableman added. “We hope to demonstrate that it is possible to generate production quantities of fresh food in the city and for the city, while growing jobs and providing an economic model that others can follow.”

Support for SOLEfood also comes from Vancity which has provided initial grant funding, on-going guidance and technical support, and a business loan.   “When you combine available downtown real estate, innovative farming methods, and job opportunities and the results are great, locally produced food, that is the kind of smart play we love to support” said Andy Broderick, Vancity Vice President of Community Investment. “We’re pleased to see all of the partners pull together to make it happen.”

Work is also underway to develop three more sites, all provided by the City of Vancouver. The City will provide three-year leases on sites at Main and Terminal, another near 1st Avenue and Clark Drive, and one near the Olympic Village on West 1st Avenue. 

About The Radcliffe Foundation
Established in 1997 by financier and philanthropist Frank Giustra, the Vancouver-based Radcliffe Foundation supports a wide variety of international and local charities. Focusing on issues ranging from disaster relief, economic development and homelessness to offering children around the world hope for a better future, the Radcliffe Foundation has been contributing to improving livelihoods worldwide for over a decade. The Radcliffe Foundation has also been working closely with the Streetohome; the first broad community-based initiative which brings together stakeholders from business, non-profits, governments and citizens, in order to effectively address homelessness in Vancouver. For many years, the Radcliffe Foundation has also been a strong supporter of the William J. Clinton Foundation (WJCF). The Radcliffe Foundation funds various programs within President Clinton’s foundation, such as the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI).

About Concord Pacific
Concord is a developer of multi-phased, master planned residential neighbourhoods that are strategically designed to enhance the lifestyles of its residents. The company’s legacy as a master-planned community developer began with Concord Pacific Place on the former Expo `86 grounds on Vancouver’s False Creek waterfront. This project has steadily transformed the city’s skyline and redefined urban living. To date, Concord Pacific Place includes more than 10,000 homes, intermixed with parks, schools and a variety of retail and commercial services. The final phase of the community will transform the north-eastern shore of False Creek into a truly sustainable community with innovative architecture and engaging public spaces of world-class scale and use.

Concord Pacific is also creating new communities across Canada such as Concord Adex Developments in Ontario including CityPlace in Toronto and Concord Park Place north of Toronto; Porteau Cove just north of West Vancouver; Concord Gateway in Richmond and the Park Place Community in City Centre, Surrey BC.

Media contact:
Trevor Pancoust
604 646 3567