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Vancouver Hungry for New Food Strategy
Mini farmers markets in lower-income areas, community gardens on rooftops, mobile green grocers - these are just some of the strategies being considered for inclusion in Vancouver's new long-range food strategy, which is scheduled to go to city council in late January 2013. In addition to outlining ways to boost the city's food production, the plan will focus on improving access to healthy food. According to the City of Vancouver’s director of social policy, Mary Clare Zak, "[p]otential actions could include enacting licensing changes to allow more 'community markets' with fresh produce to be set up at low-income sites such as social housing, as well as setting up mobile green grocers, encouraging healthy corner stores, and procuring more nutritious food in bulk for charitable providers in the Downtown Eastside."
"Expanding urban-farming initiatives, in addition to community gardens, is another central focus of the city’s food strategy," says Cole. "Vancouver currently has 19 urban farms, according to Zak, but aims to see that number grow to 35 by the year 2020, through measures such as the creation of an urban-farming business-licence category."
“'We have numerous urban farmers,' noted Brent Mansfield, the cochair of the Vancouver Food Policy Council, which has been working with the city to create the food strategy. 'But there does need to be some bylaw and regulation changes…so things around licensing, and things around home-based sales.'”