Did you know there’s an active farm just a few blocks from Victoria City Hall? A quarter acre nestled in the North Park neighbourhood, just between Mason and Balmoral, Vancouver and Cook. You know the place? The one with the bike wheel gate?
Angela Moran has been farming the Mason Street City Farm since 2006, but its soil was first tilled in the 1940s. It’s been an urban farm for the last half century and Moran has every intention to keep it that way.
But the farm needs some new infrastructure, primarily a new perimeter fence.
“The fencing hasn’t been updated in almost 30 years,” says Moran. “This is an area where there’s a lot of people dealing with mental health and addiction issues” and, at times, the old fence hasn’t kept all the people out, she says.
The farm currently has eight raised beds, a chicken coupe and run that houses 20 chickens, and some in-ground beds. Moran sells her produce to chefs around town, namely Ben Cram at the Parsonage Cafe and Jamie Cummins at Relish. “There are so many green-collar workers here in Victoria and there’s a lot of money to be made in the industry if the support is there from all three levels of government,” she says.
Moran hopes to double the size of the operation next season with the help of a new partner. They want to delve into a popular farming trend, aquaponics, which Moran says uses considerably less water than traditional farming. She also has plans to create a city farm school to teach urbanites how to sustainably and successfully grow their own food.
“I want to show people that there’s money to be made in farming and that there’s a rich future for farming in Victoria, if it’s embraced,” she says.
Moran studied permaculture and design in the eco-farming program at Linnaea Farm on Cortez Island. She also studied environmental policy and sociology at UVic.
“After graduation, I knew I had to learn to farm,” says Moran. “We now have two generations of people who have no connection to where their food is coming from. I don’t want to preach, but it’s important that people have a relationship with their food.”
Moran had the idea of a fundraiser for years, but with a young baby and a farm to tend, it’s been pushed to the back burner until this year.
“The main thing I wanted was for the night to have no panel, no speakers and no documentary screening. I really want it to be a way to celebrate food, farming and dance,” she says.
The evening begins with DJ Hristo and his “Honey Disco.” Hristo is a beekeeper by day and presses his own vinyl, which has honey comb embedded inside. All proceeds from sales of his vinyl will go to build two hives for the Mason farm next season.
Monique Salez and Flamenco Rebelde will be performing some Flamenco dance before Micro Bongo Sound System takes the stage for its live show, combining relentless driving Brazilian rhythms with deep pulsating electronic sounds. Then DJ Moses will close out the show with a set of funky house.
There will be a silent auction featuring popular festival passes (think Rifflandia), spa treatments, cakes and tickets to some food festivals around town, local art, restaurant gift certificates and much more.
Don’t miss your chance to do the worm when the beet drops! M
Fences for Food Fundraiser
Mason Street Farm
Thursday, May 3
Victoria Event Centre
8:30pm. $15 at the door