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At the farmers market selling vegetables and fruit

Urban farming and growing food to sell

Urban farms may be operated on a for-profit, non-profit, and/or a social enterprise model.

Urban farming supports many of our green initiatives including improved biodiversity, making use of under-utilized spaces, reducing food import impacts, and enhancing Vancouver's green enconomy.

Next steps for your urban farm

If you are interested in urban farming, you should review the following guides and complete the necessary documentation.

  1. Determine your farm's classification category
  2. Review the guidelines adopted by City council
  3. Complete an urban farm checklist
  4. Read our guide to reducing health risks
 

Class A

Class B

Description
  • Small scale
  • Integrated into existing neighbourhood
  • Likely outdoor in yards
  • Growing in soil
  • Larger in scale
  • May be in in a building or greenhouse (in part of whole)
  • May sell produce from the site
  • Soil or soiless growing
Allowed zones Residential Industrial, commercial, and historical area zones (Chinatown, Gastown, and Yaletown)
Size Limit per parcel Max. planting area: 325m2* Max. planting area: 7000m2**
Size Limit for combined parcel area Max. planting area: 7000m2 Max. planting area: 7000m2
Farm sales limits for leased land None None
Farm sales limits for owned land $9,999 per organization or business None
Business license $10/year $136/year
Development permit Not required*** Required ($279)
Building permit Accessory building up to 10m2 allowed without building permit If in part or wholly within a building, permit is required
Farm gate sales Only allowed if on institutional land Allowed

Notes: 

*May be larger if farm is on Institutional land and demonstrates strong social impact (may be increased to ;max. 7000m2)
**May be larger if farm demonstrates strong social impact
***Unless over 325m2

Get a printable chart

Urban Farm Guidelines

Guidelines have been prepared to assist the development of safe, neighbourly and productive urban farming and create more sustainable food system for the city.

The purpose of the guidelines is to assist both urban farm applicants to apply as well as city staff to evaluation applications. Please review the guidelines before submitting your application.

Urban farm checklist

Be sure to review this checklist for information and procedures about applying for business licences and development permits related to urban farms.

Guide to reduce health risks

This guide outlines ways to reduce contamination of soil and fresh produce by unhealthy bacteria, acid soluble metals, petroleum products, or volatile organic compounds sometimes present in the urban environment.

To assist gardeners and farmers in reducing risk in the planting, growing and harvesting of fresh produce the guide is divided in two categories – reducing fresh produce contamination, and soil assessment and testing.

More resources for urban farming

Vancouver Urban Farming Society

The Vancouver Urban Farming Society is an organization that supports the shared interests of urban farmers. Check out their website for more resources, events, workshops, and updates.

Water restrictions

Watering restrictions begin May 1. Find out when you can water your lawn, how to get an exemption, and why they are in place.

Vancouver Urban Farming Society