Urban Farming is defined as growing fruits and vegetables for sale. Smaller scale Class A urban farms are permitted in residential zones and on institutional properties. Larger scale Class B urban farms are permitted in industrial, commercial, and historic area zones and may include farming on vacant sites, in greenhouses, on rooftops, or indoors.
Urban farming supports Greenest City, Healthy City, Vancouver Economic Action Plan, and Food Strategy goals including increasing food assets, supporting the green economy, and shortening food supply chains.
Urban Farm Guidelines review
In 2016, Vancouver’s Urban Farming Guidelines were adopted to legitimize urban farming as a permitted land use and licensable business type. City Council directed staff to collaborate with stakeholders on reviewing the guidelines after a pilot period and to report back to Council on their effectiveness.
We're currently conducting this review, including meeting with farmers to discuss how the guidelines have affected their businesses or organizations.
If you would like to provide input into the review, contact the Food Policy team at email@example.com or use the feedback box below.
This review applies to urban farming in all areas of Vancouver except for the Southlands neighbourhood.
Start an urban farm
Urban farms may be operated as for-profit businesses, non-profit organizations, and social enterprises. Regardless of the business model, urban farms need a business license and may require other permits.
If you’re interested in starting a new urban farm, complete the following steps:
- Determine your farm's classification category PDF file (1.5 MB): there are two types of urban farms (Class A and Class B), each with their own set of regulations.
- Review the urban farming guidelines PDF file (119 KB): this document outlines all of the regulations pertaining urban farms and are designed to ensure that urban farms operate in a safe and neighbourly manner. The guidelines assist urban farmers to prepare their application and city staff to evaluation applications.
- Review our guide to reducing health risks PDF file (1.3 MB): 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.
- Complete an urban farm checklist PDF file (89 KB): this will document key information about your farm also contains information and procedures about applying for business licences and development permits.
- Submit a completed checklist to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be in touch regarding next steps.
Operating an urban farm
Contact the Food Policy team at email@example.com with any questions.
More resources for urban farming
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.
Young Agrarians (YA) is a network and program platform for new and young ecological and organic farmers.
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