Urban farms: turning grass into vegetables

City Street Farms, a new urban farming initiative in Regina, is excited to dig their hands into local front and back yards after the snow melts.
Photo by Rose Mansbridge-Goldie

City Street Farms is digging their horticulture hands into reminding Regina about the relationship between community, food and land.

Co-owned and operated by Miranda Holt and Candace Benson, City Street Farms is a new urban farm initiative in Regina. Holt and Benson hold permaculture design certificates and want to “Farm Your Yard” with radishes, cabbages, potatoes, flowers and herbs.

Green Sister Gardens is an urban farming company in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Keri Fox talks about urban farming below. Video by Prairie Farm Report.

“[We want to stress] food as a catalyst for community engagement,” Benson said. “People are always gathering over food. It can be a catalyst for people connecting in other ways — and building that local trade economy a little bit more.”

City Street Farms has two options for people wanting to get involved with their urban farm. You can offer up your yard-space to be turned into urban farmland, or you can reach out to them for any help you may need with your own garden space.

“Each person has a different level of gardening experience under their belt, or what they actually feel capable of doing on their own,” said Holt, who likes offering flexibility for their clients.

“It’s super fun getting to talk to homeowners and adjust our business around their needs versus providing a very specific product.”

Those who offer their yard as farm space pay for the set up of the garden and City Street Farms supplies everything else, including an irrigation system.

Carrie Smith, a Regina resident, owns one of the seven lawns being transformed this summer. She is excited about the possibilities urban farming offers.

“We don’t necessarily need to be taking so much of our [native] grassland space and turning it into farms when we have swaths of land being unused in urban environments,” Smith said.

“Producing food with the land that we’re so privileged to be on is one way to really show how much we respect this land, how much we respect First Nations peoples — by being conscientious with what’s growing on our land.”

Smith said she hopes this urban farm helps people think in more creative ways about how we can live in a sustainable world.

City Street Farms will be a Wednesday vendor at the Regina Farmer’s Market (RFM), bringing fresh produce grown in Regina soil and their knowledge of sustainable food production in Saskatchewan. The produce they don’t sell at the market will be donated to one of Regina’s community fridges.

“They’re really interested in getting back to that hands on the earth, knowledge that our grandparents and our parents carry,” said Adrea Propp, RFM’s operations manager.

“Our generation gets sucked into the convenience of take out,” Propp said. “[City Street Farms] is making that effort to go back to that knowledge that could potentially be lost if it’s not being documented.”

Smith echoes the importance of growing up in a world that values sustainable resources, which is why she reached out to City Street Farms.

“I’d much rather water food than grass,” Smith said, hoping her children will learn the importance of sustainable growing.

The City of Regina acknowledged this on its website: “Turf needs a lot of water to stay bright green. Take time to think about the value of water and how you can make small changes to use less for your yard.”

“I think we like the community aspects — growing community around food and where it comes from,” Holt said. “It’s going to be exciting to kind of showcase how food can be grown without a monocrop system and still feed a lot of people.”

Benson hopes the community engagement grows as organically as the produce.

“I see it progressing into just this network that grows really organically as our farm grows in the city.”

Holt agrees.

“We want to grow more growers, essentially. We won’t have hurt feelings if people eventually want to leave because they feel capable of farming their own yard at that point.”

If you would like your yard to be converted from lawn to farm, you can fill out an application form for the 2022 season.

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