Volunteer-run community farm

Friday, 8 May 2020

Please watch this video before you are able to volunteer for the 2020 garden season. After watching the video, sign the waiver form. Print the form and bring to your first volunteer session or scan the form and email. Once you've completed the process to volunteer, you can join our Slack channel for the latest information on the garden.

Sign up for work bee sessions here.


Friday, 1 May 2020

Posted by Prairie Urban Farm 12:29 1 comment


The COVID19 Pandemic has several implications for Prairie Urban Farm. The most immediate one is that the University of Alberta is requiring us (and all other groups involved in field activities) to submit rigorous health and safety plans for review and approval. And until that time, we are prevented from setting foot on the Farm.

Our health and safety plans, which we have been furiously working on this past week, will likely be approved very soon. The only real frustrating thing is the weather is so beautiful right now, it's hard to be patient.

We will have some new safety rules in place:
  • Before you participate in any activities on the farm, you must sign a waiver form
  • You will also be required to bring your own gloves, since sharing gloves can pose a virus infection risk
  • You must bring a mask with you (it can be home made so long as it covers your nose and mouth) for use in group settings

Meanwhile, I know several of you have been growing seedlings for us, and your babies might be ready for transplanting! One of our volunteers, Nils, shared this video with instructions for how to make your own pots out of old newspaper, hence no plastic waste, no trips to the store. 

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Posted by Prairie Urban Farm 12:41 No comments

There is a rather nasty parasite making its way around Edmonton. The parasite is called Echinococcus multilocularis. This parasite has only recently appeared in Canada, and it seems the main place it has done so is right here in Alberta. 17 Albertans have been diagnosed with it so far.

So why are we telling you all about this? Because coyote (or dog) feces contain the eggs and these are relatively to ingest accidentally, particularly for folks who like to play in the dirt like we do, and we get a fair number of visitors of the coyote variety to our farm. Rodents also carry this parasite, but can't convey it to people unless we eat them.

The parasite can be fatal, particularly if not caught—and it does appear that a person can have the parasite for years without knowing it. See this news story about an Alberta case.

I seem to have reasons to be thankful for Ron, our friendly Farm-hood rodent manager on a regular basis, and this month is no exception, he has already been out to disinfect around the shed and wood stacks.

But given that the eggs can survive our cold winter temps, I think we should assume there will be some around on the farm this spring. Gloves, regular hand washing (which has become so important lately), and thorough washing of produce are in order. Please also keep a close eye on kids and pets.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Posted by Prairie Urban Farm 12:55 No comments

During these strange times in which we are now living, in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, a number of changes are afoot.

First, we were not able to meet at the greenhouse this spring due to restrictions on social gatherings imposed for all University of Alberta facilities, so a number of us are starting seeds in window boxes and under grow lights. If anyone has a sunny window, or some indoor grow lights, and would like to start some seedlings for PUF, your efforts would be much appreciated!

Second, new measures will be taken to protect our volunteers and customers, including adding additional weekly work bees to avoid large numbers of volunteers working at the same time. We will also be adding additional mentors so that volunteers can be divided up into smaller working groups and work on different projects around the farm during each work bee. We ask all volunteers to bring their own work gloves to avoid sharing gloves. Social distancing protocol will be practiced at all times. During our weekly market, plastic gloves and hand sanitizer will be provided for our volunteers.

Ordinarily, around this time of year we would be holding a public information session for new and returning volunteers. This year we will produce a video-recorded session to share. You can look for this toward the end of April, and we hope to get started on the Farm shortly thereafter, weather-permitting.

Fourth, we are also anticipating that the need for PUF to contribute to local food security will be greater than ever. So we are calling upon all of our volunteers to go the extra mile this season in order help us increase production to meet this need, and also to be considerate when harvesting for your own consumption. While we have been quite relaxed in previous seasons, we will be instituting new rules to ensure equitable distribution of harvest among volunteers.

Finally, we have a strong crew of new and returning mentors already committed for our 2020 season, but we would be happy to add your name to our team. Please contact us if you are interested.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Posted by Prairie Urban Farm 16:15 No comments

With the weather starting to get warmer, we're looking forward to the upcoming garden season. Are you interested in joining our team of garden mentors for the 2020 season?

A mentor is someone who shares the responsibility of facilitating our work bees. We would like mentors who are able to commit to at least 2 hours of mentorship per week. Mentors do not have to be farming gurus, you just need to be willing to learn, enthusiastic about sustainability, and enjoy engaging with a wide diversity of people!

Those mentors who feel less confident in their farming knowledge will be paired with another mentor, provided with plenty of instruction, and/or asked to lead work bee tasks that are less knowledge-intensive.

Our regular work bee sessions are Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm, and Saturday 1 pm  to 5 pm. Some mentors have also taken the initiative to lead a morning/midday session as well.

If you are interested, please email Debra ddavidson@ualberta.ca. Anyone who is particularly excited about being involved in our weekly market should let her know in your email. There will be a meeting of everyone interested in mentoring in March.  

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Posted by Prairie Urban Farm in | 10:34 No comments

The 2019 market season has come to an end. Thank you to everyone who came out to volunteer and to those that supported us by donating or buying veggies at the weekly markets. Looking forward to seeing you all in 2020.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Posted by Prairie Urban Farm 14:22 No comments

Short days and frosty nights have finally claimed the garden for this 2019. We managed to extend our Thursday markets into October this year, but will not be hosting a market again until spring. We would like to a offer a huge "Thank you" to everyone who made it out as a volunteer to support the harvest, who spread the word of the work we do, or who came out and made donations to PUF.

Working into the darkness, we made a final harvest for volunteers and to give back to the community.  Multi-cultural Health Brokers and the Grocery Run program came out to help with the harvest and received a large donation of produce to support the communities they work with.It's always special having someone dig a potato or a carrot out of the ground for the first time.

Our regular volunteer sessions are continuing for now. Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 pm to sundown, and Saturdays 1-5 pm.  There is a lot still to do in getting the garden cleaned and put to bed for winter. And, if you have been out volunteering this year and missed your bag of potatoes, or a pumpkin for Thanksgiving, come along this Saturday and we will have some out that we have been storing away from the frost.