Sole Food Farms
From one half-acre on a formerly vacant slab of concrete in Vancouver, Sole Food Street Farms has grown into a heart-warming urban success story.
This Downtown Eastside social enterprise was established to create training and employment opportunities for people living with the challenges of mental illness and addiction. It began with that half-acre farm on Hastings Street in 2009 and has blossomed into almost 5 acres on four sites throughout downtown Vancouver. It now sends over 20 tonnes of artisan fruits and vegetables to farmer’s markets, restaurants and retail outlets throughout the area each year, providing hugely meaningful employment and agricultural training for 25 vulnerable people in the process.
Salt Spring Coffee, which traces its roots back to a small island farm, is a proud supporters of Sole Food and its Downtown Eastside mission through our 1% for the Planet Program.
We donated $10,000 to Sole Food in 2013 to help them purchase a box truck so they could deliver fruits and vegetable to over 30 restaurant clients and farmers markets. Salt Spring Coffee recently donated again to help them develop cold storage, a washing and processing facility, and an expanded tool shed at their largest farm on the corner of Carrall Street and Pacific Boulevard.
The Salt Spring Coffee donation has allowed Sole Food to increase its efficiency, maintain better quality fresh produce, and they are now able to offer staff an area to keep their belongings safely stored and to share meals and a hot coffee. For many businesses these amenities may seem like the norm, but for a new social enterprise built around urban farming, we know these are the things that really make a difference.
To see what kind of difference Sole Foods Street Farms is making in our community, go visit one of their farms, see them at your local farmers markets, or watch for their truck as it makes its way through Vancouver delivering great tasting, fresh food. You can find out more at solefoodfarms.com.