News and Events

Mason St. City Farm Needs Your Help!

 

On Thursday, August 27th 2015 at 7 pm Victoria’s City Council will be voting on the subject of the proposed development at the former St. Andrew’s School site. We need you to come and tell City Council that we deserve #abetterplan.

We are asking supporters to

1) Show up at the City Council meeting on Thursday, August 27th. There will be a rally at 6:30 pm, and the meeting starts at 7 pm. MORE DETAILS WILL BE COMING! Check the Facebook event for updates. Please share it widely! We need folks to show up and to speak! Even just standing up to say you are opposed is great. Scroll down for points that the North Park Neighbourhood Association is emphasizing, and what our additional concerns are.

2) Write or call your Councillors, tell them you are opposed to the development and explain why. Please read below if you’d like more information and inspiration about what to highlight. Letters need to be in by 11 am on Wednesday August 26th to be considered.

What is the Bosa Development?

A proposed block of apartments on top of a large commercial box store proposed for  the former St. Andrew’s Catholic school.  Bosa/BlueSky Properties has applied for a permit to re-zone the site for residential use, and we are currently asking the City Council to reject its application as we have several concerns with both the process that has been followed and the facts of development itself. Here are their full plans: Bosa Plans June 2015. And a recent response from the North Park Neighbourhood Association: NPNA Letter June 29th

The development would have a significant impact on our continued growth and could mean that Mason St. City Farm would be permanently unable to meet our goals of being a year-round source of food for our community. 

We support innovative development

We are not against the development of the site, and we are in full support of the OCP goals of increased density for the area. However, a mediocre development with unaffordable “affordable” housing units that shades Victoria’s oldest urban farm on top of a big box store is not the progressive direction that many Victorians had envisioned for a development on a downtown/neighbourhood border. There are several concerns that we at Mason St. City Farm have about the development, both as a business with an interest in increasing food security in the city, and as community members.

Shade shade shade

An important issue that affects Mason St. City Farm specifically is the shade that the building will throw over our site. Obviously sun is a vital ingredient in growing food. While the shade won’t impact our site during the height of summer, we will be dealing with increased shade in the early spring and late fall, and our farm will be completely shaded out by the development in the winter months. The impact of the full shade in the winter months will affect our planting schedule and growing capacity in the months following as it will take our soil longer to recover from cold temperatures. It’s difficult to predict the magnitude of the impact this will have on our long-term viability as food producer in the heart of the city, but we are sure that this will eliminate our ability to grow food year-round, and limit our long-term sustainability.

Food Security

The threat the development proposes to our farm also contradicts the OCP’s stated goals in Section 17 “Food Systems”, which declares support for “Mechanisms to encourage and support food production sites on City-held lands, other publicly-held lands, and on private lands” (17.4.3) and “enabling infrastructure and human resources needed to support small-scale commercial urban agriculture as a home occupation.” (17.14.1).

We stand with North Park

The North Park Neighbourhood Association is comprised of a very informed and active group of neighbourhood residents that have stood in opposition to this development for 3 1/2 years! They have repeatedly outlined concerns in interactions with Bosa Properties, see some of the letters here. At the hearing it is important that any Mason Street Farm supporters speak to a variety of issues with the design. Not just the shading of the farm. If council hears 100 people speak to just the shading on the farm and food security, it will likely fall on deaf ears.

Here are the neighbourhood concerns:

Massing

  • Site is over half a city block with 210 residential units plus commercial space: too massive
  • Gated design takes up entire footprint of the site with all greenspace on inside for residents only
  • Large footprint needs to be broken up with public access through the site

Traffic

  • All traffic access off Mason St (300 cars/hour during peak hours, plus delivery trucks) turns a unique one-way street with heritage homes, small businesses, urban farm and a kids’ playground into a service lane for the development
  • Traffic off Mason also would compromise the greenway and bike path on Vancouver
    Street, where most of the traffic would access Mason Street, and which is a main southnorth bike corridor
  • The single 35,000 sq. ft. retail outlet would increase traffic to the area as it would rely for its success on destination customers driving from the region as opposed to local shoppers walking to medium-sized local retail outlets

Community & Green Spaces

  • Shading of Mason Street city farm, a unique urban farm supplying greens to local businesses
  • Shadowing also would detract from the children’s playground at Franklin Green Park in late afternoon when school-age kids use the park
  • Vancouver Street greenway and cycling route is diminished by increased traffic and commercial trucks turning on Vancouver and Mason

Other concerns

  • Not Leed-certified for energy efficiency and no significant attention to carbon footprint
  • Rental units for ten years but no guarantee of rental housing in the future; market rates
  • 11 units of affordable housing at 85% of market rents is not affordable, especially for North Park demographic


Bosa is just one developer that has tried many different tactics to see their development get approval and each time they have been told their development does not meet the communities standards. Another developer is out there that can meet with the community in North Park and develop North Park and the St. Andrew’s site in line with North Park’s vision. We are not opposed to development at the St. Andrew’s site. We would just like to see a progressive development that addresses the concerns of the neighbourhood. We all deserve #abetterplan.

Summer Plant Sale – Hot Times in the City!

Mason Street City Farm and Edible Nursery is excited to be hosting another Plant Sale!
Come get all your Summer vegetables this Saturday May 23rd, from 10 am to 2 pm at our Nursery location, 1015 Balmoral Rd.

We will have: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, winter squash, greens of ALL KINDS, beets, culinary herbs, perennial vegetables… and so much more! With special deals on TOMATOES! Check out all our varieties here!

Hatchet and Seed will be joining us this time bringing all kinds of edible fruit, perennials and permaculture plants .
http://www.hatchetnseed.ca/

Purposeful Plants will have an amazing assortment of ancient foods and rare medicinals

FREE TUTORIAL ON TOMATO CARE AND CONTAINER PLANTING AT 1PM

Spring is Here and We’re Ready to Garden with You!

Our Downtown Edible Nursery is officially open and we wanna celebrate! That’s right, you can now buy an array of ecologically grown annual & perennial vegetable starts, herbs and flowers at our farm site at 1015 Balmoral Road, every week from Wednesday to Friday 9 am to 7 pm.  We’re talking artichokes, strawberries, broccoli, greens of all kinds, fennel, thyme, cilantro and tomatoes! Tomatoes! TOMATOES!!!

To celebrate we’ll be kicking it off with an Open House & Sale on Sunday April 19th from 10 am to 3 pm with our friends from DIY Fungi and Purposeful Plants, who will be bringing mushroom grow kits and rare medicinal plants to tempt you. We’ll also be running Farm Tours at 11 am and 2 pm, so come down and join in on the fun!

Hope to see you there!

2015 Urban Farming Certificate Program: Food Skills in Action

mason logoMason Street City Farm is excited to finally be offering the Urban Farming Certificate Program. Students will learn the theory and application of intensive urban food production and the foundations of holistic ecological farming.

For more information and registration click here.

 

Mason Street Farm 2015 Apprenticeship Program!

Thanks to everyone that applied. We are no longer accepting applications.

Application Deadline: January 20th 2015
Working Interviews: February 5 & 6 2015

Link to application:  Apprenticeship-Application-2015

get involvedAbout the Apprenticeship:

This apprenticeship is well suited for individuals with a strong work ethic who are seeking a career path in ecological food production. Many days of this apprenticeship will be fun and enjoyable. Many days will be challenging, wet and monotonous. You will be experiencing life as a production farmer.  We will be serving coffee!

The Mason Street City Farm is offering 3 full season paid apprenticeships for the 2015 growing season.
Apprentices work 2 full days per week with a stipend of $75 per day. This is equivalent to a $650 monthly stipend. Apprentices  are responsible for providing their own room and board in Victoria.

When: April 1 2015 – September 25 2015  (6 month apprenticeship)

Where: 1032 Mason St. The lions share of our work happens onsite but there will be field   trips!

Get Your tickets for Boots ‘n’ Suits 2014: Farmers and Flamenco!

HERE

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Please join Mason Street City Farm and the Island Chefs’ Collaborative for a five-course feast from the fields by Victoria’s top chefs with local beer, wine, and cider pairings.

Different chefs, different menu, different entertainment, same dress code.

 

Wear your favourite gumboots with your formal wear, and prepare to be inspired, satisfied, and entertained.After dinner there will be live flamenco dance performance featuring Monique Salez, Angela Moran and friends!This Friday November 14th 6:30The White Eagle Hall 90 Dock St James BayPURCHASE TICKETS

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Mason Street City Farm Continues to Innovate

Edie Irons

Mason Street City Farm, a quarter-acre urban farm in downtown Victoria, is teaming up with Limbic Media to upgrade its technology and teach high-tech green job skills to Victoria high school students……(read more)

 

 

Farmers in a dangerous time