Sole Food Street Farms Volunteer Program

Posted by Sara Dent on February 12, 2014

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Sole Food Street Farms 2014 Volunteers Program

Volunteering at Sole Food Street Farms is for individuals with a serious interest in urban agriculture and social enterprise.  The program provides each participant with the opportunity to spend a season working on an urban farming operation.  Most of the education will be through hands-on experience and the skills learned will be focused on agriculture and social sustainability in an urban context.

About Sole Food Street Farms

Sole Food transforms vacant urban land into street farms that grow artisan quality fruits and vegetables.  Our mission is to empower individuals with limited resources by providing jobs, agricultural training and inclusion in a supportive community of farmers and food lovers.

Sole Food Street Farms is in its fifth year of operation. In our first growing season (2009), over 100 volunteers joined together to build a half-acre farm on a vacant parking lot beside the Astoria Hotel. We have provided employment for 35 residents of the downtown eastside, produced over 15.5 tons of food, generated and donated over 11,000 pounds of fresh healthy produce to inner city food agencies.

Over the past two seasons, we expanded our operation to include three additional sites, totaling four and a half acres of growing space. These sites include a privately owned parking lot and two city owned brownfields. We are modeling innovative ways of growing food in vacant urban spaces and in abandoned lots with contaminated soils. Our approach is re-envisioning and repurposing vacant lands to improve the food security of our local communities, while providing meaningful employment for people who face systemic barriers to accessing and maintaining traditional employment.

Volunteer Specifics

At the Farm: We have a diverse and innovative urban farming operation, which requires a wide range of skills: greenhouse seedling production, field planting, weeding and harvesting, produce deliveries, and building and repairing infrastructure.  Be prepared for physically demanding work.  We aim to provide you with a well-rounded training in urban bio intensive agriculture and farm operations, and expect you to pursue this learning. Besides the informal training that happens each day we will provide volunteer-directed seminars on various topics.

We work in an urban context in a neighbourhood that is experiencing significant social/economic challenges.  A big part of volunteering at Sole Food is the experience of working in a community-based social enterprise.  Within this context, we have a unique, familial working environment that provides opportunities for learning and engagement outside of agriculture.

Work Schedule

·      The volunteer program begins May 1st and ends the week of September 30th.

·      Your time commitment is approx. 24 hrs/week, Monday through Friday, with some room for flexibility if help is needed at the farmers markets or with weekend chores.

·      The midseason work schedule starts at 6:30am with one-hour lunch breaks.  We aim to end by 5 or 6pm every day.  The exception may be on harvest days or for special projects.

·      We will go over the duties, classes and chore schedule at the beginning of the season.

·      Volunteers will receive an honorarium of $300/month and a weekly share of produce through our CSA.  You will receive the employee discount of 50% off all produce at farmers’ markets.

       You will need:  Rain Gear, rubber boots, a sunhat and a water bottle.

Our ideal candidate has: 

  • ·      A serious interest in farming as a lifestyle and/or livelihood
  • ·      Physical ability to carry out farm tasks
  • ·      Lots of energy and highly motivated
  • ·      A mind for efficiency
  • ·      Open and positive communication skills
  • ·      Interest in learning
  • ·      A friendly personality and willingness to spend time with customers, chefs, and  CSA members
  • ·      Interest in social enterprise
  • ·      Sense of humour

Please email a letter of interest and resume to info@solefoodfarms.com

 Volunteers will be contacted for an interview.

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