Message from Karen Ageson, Acting ED – Vancouver Urban Farming Society

Hi! My name is Karen Ageson, Acting Executive Director for the Vancouver Urban Farming Society. I am a founding director of VUFS, founded in 2012, and served as board chair 2014-2016. For a year now, supported by the board, I moved into overseeing operations for VUFS, while continuing to run a market garden in Vancouver, BC (Farmers on 57th).

It’s no secret. The Vancouver Urban Farming Society has been relatively dormant the past year and a half. I’m here to explain why, and to tell you about the exciting things coming up (like the Forum, just three weeks away!).

VUFS enjoyed an amazing run 2012-2017 with a series of talented & passionate staff who nimbly supported urban farming in innovative ways. Hundreds of hours have been volunteered, the majority by urban farmers, as well as architects, accountants & human resource specialists who have served, and some of whom continue to serve, on our board of directors.

Well, we hit our 5 year mark as an organization in 2017, and the growing pains along with it. Faced with the challenge of securing financial sustainability for the organization, the departure of some wonderful people, and reliant once again on our long-serving volunteer board, momentum waned. The board continued to meet through 2018 to find our best way forward.

Fortunately, partner organizations such as SPEC and Young Agrarians have built amazing programs that provide invaluable support to urban farmers in the region providing workshops, networking events, tours, and extension services.

December 2018, I volunteered to step down from the VUFS board and take up operations, drive resources back to the organization and continue urban farming policy work: to inform the upcoming City of Vancouver review of the Pilot Urban Farming Guidelines with farmer input & policy research. We seek to establish a supportive policy framework that will allow urban farming to grow & thrive in Vancouver, BC and provide a model for cities world wide.

And here we are! We hope you will join us Sunday January 19th, 2020, 8:30am-4pm, at the PNE for the 8th Vancouver Urban Farming Forum. It is a good opportunity to attend interesting sessions, network with fellow urban farming enthusiasts and hear more about VUFS’ policy research and 2017-2019 Urban Farming Census. VUFS projects are made possible with funding from Vancity, Metro Vancouver, Pacific National Exhibition, Real Estate Foundation of BC and the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

On behalf of VUFS, Happy New Year! We hope to connect with you at the Urban Farming Forum, and in any other way we cross paths this coming year.

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