Reclaim Urban Farm is a multi-locational urban microfarm located near Whyte Avenue in the heart of Edmonton, Alberta. We reclaim back and front yards, empty lots, and gardens in the neighbourhoods of Garneau, Old Strathcona, King Edward Park, and Bonnie Doon, repurposing them to grow food. In exchange for land, we offer a weekly box of fresh produce to the landowner. They can choose to have the box delivered to their home or have us donate it to a local charity on their behalf.
To reclaim means to reimagine and repurpose urban spaces to new and old uses. In doing so we also recognize and acknowledge that the land we farm is part of Treaty 6. Before our grandparents arrived in Canada, this land was used by Canada's first farmers, hunters, fishers, and foragers. We stand in solidarity with those who believe everyone has the right to healthy food, land, water, and air.
We're passionate about good soil. So we add lots of organic matter by creating our own compost on site and at home (with our resident pet worms). We also source additional compost made right here in Edmonton, closing the loop on food waste! We have also conducted soil testing and heavy metals analysis on our 3 vacant lots - this testing indicates that heavy metal levels are within ESRD Tier 1 Soil and Groundwater Remediation Guideline's recommended limits for human contact and agricultural use.
Each year we save seeds from our best tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and beans. This allows us to develop varieties that are well suited to local growing conditions. We even have a few varieties passed down from Cathy's grandma! There are some seeds we can't easily produce ourselves, so we buy these seeds from companies who have taken the Safe Seed Pledge and sell non-GM seeds.
We use our bikes most of the time to travel between sites and to harvest produce for our landowners and for the market. We also do many of our chores by hand to minimize fuel consumption and the site where we process our veggies is powered by renewable energy from Spark and Bullfrog Power. Because we're just across the river from market (our storage and processing facility is <7km away), you get the freshest food possible with the lowest carbon footprint.
Instead of chemicals, we use organic and manual pest control practices. We use a lot of row covers to prevent pest problems from occurring in the first place. When pest problems do arise, we remove them by hand or look for organic approved methods to reduce the impact.
We try to use repurposed and reclaimed materials whenever possible. We make our crates and compost bins out of reclaimed wood and try to source second hand tools and supplies when possible.
We also searched high and low to find the lowest impact packaging we could. Many of our items are sold as bunches so they don't need a bag at all. Where we do use containers or bags, we have sourced biodegradable and reyclable options made from renewable resources.