Growing vegetables in the heart of downtown Quebec City will soon be possible thanks to the establishment of an urban vegetable farm.
Growing vegetables on concrete
For the last few weeks, the space that until summer 2019 housed the market in Quebec City’s Old Port has been buzzing with activity. Twenty wooden containers, measuring about 1 by 15 metres, have been set up on the concrete. Welcome to one of Quebec’s biggest vegetable farms with a social and educational purpose—a new urban agriculture initiative of Les Urbainculteurs.
The farm, called Les jardins du bassin Louise, will cover an area of 320 sq. m. “Soon, a wide variety of vegetables will be planted in 12 of the containers. The other 8 will be used by the community garden,” explains Marie-Hélène Dubé, who is in charge of communications.
Local community organizations fighting food insecurity are also key project stakeholders. Since the harvest will be given to families in need, these organizations have selected the vegetables to be grown: carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and zucchini, for instance. They will distribute them to low-income families as they are harvested. “By involving them in the project, we can make sure we meet their needs,” says Marie-Hélène.
Local sourcing and urban agriculture policy
The City of Québec is also a project partner. The vegetable farm project is part of the urban agriculture plan that the City will unveil in the coming months. By providing $90,000 financial support per year over three years, the municipality will enable community organizations to buy the vegetables at cost price.
The farm will gradually expand over the next three years, the objective being to have 60 containers by 2022. “We were inspired by two innovative projects: Sole Food Street Farms in Vancouver and Le potager de la cantine in Nantes, France,” says Marie-Hélène. “What makes Les jardins du bassin Louise unique is that it’s entirely accessible to the public. There are no fences.” It’s like a public garden that everyone can enjoy. Les Urbainculteurs have extensive experience in this field. Since 2009, they have set up dozens of gardens and vegetable gardens, including the edible garden right outside the National Assembly. “But this vegetable farm in the heart of the city centre is a dream we’ve had since the organization’s inception,” enthuses Marie-Hélène.
In addition to growing produce, the organization will offer workshops and other educational gardening activities.
Photo credit: Les Urbainculteurs