Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Posted by Prairie Urban 13:45 No comments
Who We Are
A non-profit, volunteer-run production, education, outreach and experimental research organization affiliated with the University of Alberta, supporting sustainable urban agriculture and food systems in Central Alberta, and similar northern climates.


Mission Statement

To support activities that contribute to understanding of, and capacity for, enhancing production innovations, regional food security and food sovereignty in urban agriculture in an ecologically sustainable manner.


Farm Objectives

         Enhance practical skills and knowledge among University of Alberta students, faculty, staff and local citizens in sustainable urban food production by creating an interactive, experiential classroom outdoors in the form of a collectively-run community farm.

         Expand the University of Albertas food and agriculture research and training profile to include sustainable urban agriculture and local food systems.

         Play a leading, collaborative role in the development of a sustainable local food system in central Alberta by offering venues to improve the flows of information and networking among regional organizations involved in urban agriculture.

         Produce agricultural products for direct provision to under-privileged populations in the Edmonton area.

         Pursue financial sustainability through revenue generation in the form of produce sales and fee-based learning events.


Farm Activities

Our objectives will be pursued in the context of three primary types of activity: food production, education, and outreach.

Food Production
The food production component will be focused on the production of a variety of agricultural foods in an ecologically-beneficial manner, including experimental crops and varieties that may be more suitable to Albertas changing climate.

Education
The educational component will consist of a variety of initiatives, including contributions to university curricula, educational opportunities for local gardeners, and field-based learning opportunities for primary and secondary school children.

Outreach
We are committed to building relationships with other organizations that support sustainable agriculture and food systems and food security, in order to share knowledge and collaborate on shared objectives, with a particular focus on organizations serving populations at risk of food insecurity.
Several regularly-held social events will include an annual harvest festival, which could include several active learning sessions that highlight recent research pertaining to agriculture and sustainability presented in a lay-accessible manner, food processing demonstrations, and family fun activities.
The Farm will also host a set of digital social media communication platforms for the regular exchange of information, in which research, events, and experiential learning information can be openly exchanged.

Research
We seek to support interdisciplinary, experiential, and applied research targeted toward enhancement of the viability of urban food systems, which may include innovations in production techniques, and evaluation of the social, economic, and ecological characteristics of practices and products appropriate to urban agriculture.

Guiding Principles Pursued in Management Decision-making:
1.      Farm activities will be designed to create awareness and motivate further citizen engagement in urban food systems, and enhance food security.
2.      Agricultural operations will follow ecological principles of management, with the overall goal of minimizing water and energy consumption; and improving the health and productivity of the land base, including the practice of soil enhancement techniques, biological diversity, wildlife habitat, and avoidance of the use of synthetic chemicals.
3.      Operations will strive for economic sustainability and independence from outside funding through efficient food production and marketing via farm gate sales, farmers market sales, and other wholesale outlets, with a preference for local, independent retailers; and collection of fees for learning events, allocated according to ability to pay.
4.      We will strive to maximize our material contribution to local food security through donations of fresh produce to social service agencies serving low-income and under-privileged populations.


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