Our landscapes are always changing people move, stores close and open, new buildings erect, and old ones are taken down. We may barely notice the shifts, but every once in a while something changes and its poignant enough to capture our attention. It sort of wakes us up a little; and can recalibrate our perspective on how things are, or how they might be.
New to downtownVancouver, Local Garden, may be one of those organizations that prompts a paradigm shift. This innovative company is rethinking landscapes by converting a roof top parkade in downtown Vancouver to a sophisticated and space saving Organic Farm.
We caught up with Rae Abbott, sales rep for Local Garden, to learn more about the project.
What is the aim of Local Garden?
The intention is to create a sustainable, year round, viable, and committed food source, in a place that doesnt necessarily have access to its own leafy greens and salad greens year round. Its also to eliminate as many fossil fuels and carbons out of our food as we can.
Do you think that the organization is meeting that goal?
Its a pretty high achievable, there is no question, and there have been numerous challenges along the way. For example, for the build up of the project we have to bring in products that arent necessarily from our own local environment our growing medium is a mix of coconut husk, and soil, and as we know coconut doesnt grow in Vancouver, British Columbia. Thankfully, we can buy a large volume of it because its light and easy to store, which is an OK thing to overcome.
In other areas, however, we have had to make some tight restrictions based on how far we deliver, because the further we deliver the further we get away from our growing point and the more fossil fuels and carbon inputs are required.
What is the radius that youre delivering to right now?
We have a delivery point maximum at 25 kms.
How are you delivering the produce?
We have four large volume retail locations that are delivered to twice a week via a small van. For restaurants and small retail orders, we use a Vancouver company called Shift Urban Cargo. They built us a custom box to put on the back of their tricycles, which can carry up to 20 cases of our product. Because we can amalgamate the orders, this makes it really environmentally effective, and much more cost effective for everybody.
What is it like to make a sales pitch for Local Garden?
The fascinating thing about PR and marketing for this particular brand is that I havent had to do too much pitching, because there is such a demand for local. I think that this whole project stems from community people are really interested in supporting each other, knowing their growers and knowing how their food is grown and what principles the growers are operating by. People are also very interested in the price of gasoline, and so having to pitch this hasnt really been a challenge because there is so much demand for local availability.
What does this mean for you to be working for this organization?
Its intimidating, and yet it feels like an opportunity to really create something that I believe in, to engage and be brave in.
How is it intimidating?
Its intimidating because I am dealing with big business, but I am also dealing with leaves, and leaves are so tender and soft and vulnerable, and I have to manage that. It is challenging me to be the best person I can be all the time.
Is there a motto that the company has used in building the project?
Never ever, ever give up Winston Churchill.
To learn more about how Local Garden is changing our landscape visit themonline.And when youre in Vancouver, be sure to grab some of their fresh grub and craft up a delicious green salad.