Man in urban garden reaching down to harvest salad greens in Vancouver.

Local Food

Our goal: Vancouver will become a global leader in urban food systems

A stronger local food system reduces the environmental impact of food production and transportation, and contributes to human health.

Read about the:

Our target: Increase city-wide and neighbourhood food assets by a minimum of 50% over 2010 levels

Progress we've made so far

Local Food Chart
Source: City of Vancouver, Food Policy.

Over the next three years, we will continue to grow our food assets. The Vancouver Food Strategy and the Parks Board Local Food Action Plan provide the framework and guidance to implement this list of achievable actions.

  • 7.1 - Adopt and implement urban farming policy to further enable commercial food production in the city and increase the number of urban farming businesses from 18 to 35.
  • 7.2 - Increase the number of farmers markets from 11 to 22 and community food markets from 14 to 20.
  • 7.3 - Increase the number of urban agriculture projects and plots from 4,423 to 5,500 and community kitchens from 69 to 80 with particular emphasis on encouraging broader participation by ethno-cultural groups.
  • 7.4 - Support the Food Bank in their relocation to a new facility and incorporate components of a food hub as envisioned in the Vancouver Food Strategy.

Our 2015-2016 successes

Recent initiatives that bring us closer to reaching the Local Food goal.

In March 2016, City Council adopted a set of Urban Farm Guidelines and changed bylaws to assist in the development of safe, neighbourly, and productive urban farms and to create a more sustainable food system for Vancouver.

We support community kitchens through grants and infrastructure upgrades to City-owned buildings that host these kitchens.

In 2015, City grants helped to purchase kitchen equipment for the Kivan and Kimount Boys and Girls Clubs  in East Vancouver, who provide safe, inclusive places for children and youth to receive nutritious food and develop skills and knowledge about healthy eating. 

What is a community kitchen

A community kitchen is a place for people to gather and prepare meals together. Groups often meet in community facilities, such as churches, neighbourhood houses, and community centres.

Community kitchens are community-driven programs that play an important role as public facilities for people to:

  • Learn and share knowledge about nutrition and cooking
  • Meet new people and build community

In 2015, Frog Hollow  and Kiwassa  neighbourhood houses, and Hastings Community Centre received Sustainable Food Systems Grants funding to assist food rescue programs in their neighbourhood, to work together to partner with local food companies to redistribute healthy food.

What are food rescue programs

Surplus food is wasted every day in Vancouver. Highly nutritious, safe-to-eat produce and other perishable food ends up in the compost or landfill. Food rescue programs see that as an untapped resource, and redirect good food to help feed our most vulnerable residents. 

 

Get more details about our successes: Read the implementation update for 2015-2016  (8 MB)

Our 2014-2015 successes

Initiatives that brought us closer to reaching the Local Food goal from 2014 to 2015.

A number of beautiful new food gardens were completed in 2014:

  • Beaconsfield Park, with the Italian Cultural Centre, have an orchard, honeybees, pollinator spaces, and spaces for shared gardening and allotments
  • A garden just east of the Creekside Community Centre was built in collaboration with CityStudio
  • Riverfront Park, Kingcrest Park, and the new park at West 6th Avenue and Fir Street have new gardens and community garden plots
  • Kitsilano Community Centre built a new collaborative garden in partnership with Can You Dig It

For the last three years we offered free fruit trees to community gardens on Parks, City, and School Board land; and to community gardens on private property. Over that time, 375 fruit trees were provided to gardeners.

In 2014, the TreeKeepers Program distributed 2,300 fruit trees, growing Vancouver's overall urban orchard one household at a time.

The Choi Project, a Greenest City Fund-supported program, was developed to highlight the wealth of healthy, locally-grown produce available at Chinese grocery stores.

The project is run by the Hua Foundation, a youth-driven non-profit based in Vancouver that works to engage the Chinese community around social and environmental change. Free multilingual guides and signage in stores show which Chinese vegetables are grown locally and in season.

A video celebrating the successes of the Vancouver Food Strategy went viral in early 2015.

At over half a million views and counting, the City of Vancouver Food Strategy: What Feeds Us clip brought increased media attention to or urban agriculture initiatives and helped spread the message about the role food systems can play in making our city more vibrant, healthy, and sustainable to new audiences locally and internationally. Our Food Strategy, now two years old, sets out a plan to create a sustainable, affordable, and healthy local food system for Vancouver.

In 2014, 21,750 people were involved in 12 neighbourhood food networks throughout Vancouver.

These community-led coalitions of citizens, organizations, and agencies work together to ensure that everyone has access to healthy, nutritious, and affordable food. They do this through education and engagement, events, community food markets, gardening programs, and community kitchens.

Neighbourhood food networks are crucial in coordinating and delivering physical food assets like gardens and markets.

Get more details about our successes: Read the implementation update for 2014-2015  (2 MB)

Food assets include:

  • Number of community garden plots
  • Farmers markets
  • Community orchards
  • Community composting facilities
  • Community kitchens
  • Community food markets
  • Urban farms

These metrics are maintained by the Social Policy and Projects Division within Community Services at the City.   

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Initiatives that are helping us reach our goal and target

Backyard chickens

As part of the City's ongoing effort to help residents get involved in food production, you are now allowed to keep hens in your back yard. Read the rules, and register your hens.

Community gardens

Joining a community garden is a great way to enjoy locally grown food, connect with nature, meet your neighbours, and be healthy. Find a current or proposed garden near you, and plan a new garden in your neighbourhood.

Farmers markets

Farmers markets continue to grow in number and popularity in Vancouver. Find a farmers markets, and learn how to start one.

Vancouver Food Strategy

The Vancouver Food Strategy is a plan to improve our food system, making the city more equitable, sustainable, and economically healthy. Learn more, and get involved.

Compost soil

The Vancouver Landfill composting facility creates compost from yard trimmings for sale and donation. You may pick up compost from the landfill or arrange for delivery.