Farming in the City XI (Nelson Urban Acres / Massachusetts Avenue Project)

farminginthecityNelson Urban Acres
Nelson Urban Acres is bringing fresh produce closer to home. They are a multi-plot urban farm in Nelson, British Columbia that launched into operation in 2009 based on the SPIN farming model. Co-founders Paul Hoepfner-Homme and Christoph Martens are working backyard gardens within the city using low-impact, organic farming techniques to grow fresh produce. This year they have been growing a variety of vegetables throughout the season for Nelson’s community markets. Deconstructing Dinner checks in with Paul to learn of the challenges and opportunities learned from trying to make living as an urban farmer.

Massachusetts Avenue Project
The Massachusetts Avenue Project hosts the Growing Green Program, a youth development and urban agriculture program about increasing healthy food access and revitalizing the Buffalo community through urban farming, healthy nutrition, environmental stewardship and social enterprise. In addition to its urban farm, Growing Green also hosts a youth enterprise, a farm to school initiative, a mobile market and runs various workshops related to urban agriculture.


nelsonurbanacres_6Paul Hoepfner-Hommeurban farmer,Nelson Urban Acres (Nelson, BC) – Paul is 28 years old and was fortunate to grow up in a gardener’s oasis uncharacteristic of the norm in suburban Oakville, Ontario. His mother, a passionate gardener, transformed the lawns into a thriving landscape consisting of native plants and shrubs, vegetables and berries. Being raised in this environment gave Paul an early appreciation for what grows out of the ground. During university he developed a passion for sustainability when he read the novel Ishmael, and upon completing his computer science degree he made it his mission to learn how to live sustainably. This passion led him to enrol in a 7-month internship at Everdale, an organic farm in Ontario, where he gained valuable skills and knowledge in operating an organic vegetable farm. In 2008 he moved to the Kootenay region of British Columbia and took a Permaculture Design course in Winlaw where he gained a deeper understanding of growing food in relationship with ecosystems.

Diane Picardexecutive director, Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) (Buffalo, NY) – Diane has been with MAP since 1997. She was instrumental in opening the Neighborhood Outreach Center in 1998 and she currently directs Growing Green. She received a Masters of Social Work from Boston University, specializing in Program Planning and Community Organizing. Her undergraduate degree in International Agriculture and Development from Cornell University prepared her to teach agriculture and art at a rural secondary school in Botswana, where she served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1986-1988. Diane is devoted to grassroots community-building as a means of making positive change.

Musical Selection (name/title/album/label)
Theme/Soundclip – Adham Shaikh, Infusion, Fusion, Sonic Turtle (CDN)
Soundclip – Zeb, Disco Patel, Stop the Earth I Want to Get Off, Wonderwheel