Ryan Mason - Farm Manager
Food lover, gardener, husband and pensively absent. Ryan has grown roots to gardening and Alberta that stretch way down. His great grandfather began it all when he immigrated to Edmonton and tried to make a living off of 5 acres in current day Bonnie Doon. Ryan was raised on a small farm at Pigeon Lake, where he competed with his brother to see who could fill the most yogurt containers with raspberries (and won)! Through the Augustana Campus, UofA he traveled to Mexico and Cuba where he renewed his passion for food justice and learned from the best campesinas around. Just recently, he returned from Tanzania where his food security research enabled him to work alongside wakulimu (farmers) harvesting, thrashing and winnowing an assortment of grains. Bringing us back full circle, he follows in his great grandfather's footsteps to grow great food in the heart of a great city.
Photo Credit: Lone Acacia Photography
Reclaim Urban Farm was founded in early 2014 by Alumni Innovation Award winning team Ryan Mason and Cathryn Sprague. The duo began growing micro greens and shoots indoors and hunting for plots of urban land to farm on come spring. Their first and largest land partner, the St. John's Institute provided just the spot, with some compost, a lot of sweat equity, and a few seeds, a farm was born in the heart of Edmonton's Garneau neighbourhood. From there, the farm expanded throughout the Whyte Ave area, eventually providing sustainably produced food to more than 40 restaurants per week, select retailers, to a members of their community supported agriculture (CSA) program, and to shoppers at City Market Downtown. Cathryn has since moved on to other projects, starting Up Loop Consulting, however the farm continues to grow and thrive under Ryan's leadership and the work of our growing team.
This year we partnered with the UofA's ALES ASIP internship program and the Augustana's Spirit of the Land program to hire interns and provide on farm education and summer employment to students.
We currently have a staff of three, who you may have the pleasure of meeting at our farmers market, at SPUD, or during deliveries. And of course we can't forget our spouses, who have helped us out from the beginning!
Hsin Li started as an intern through the UofA program this summer and now helps us out with our winter farmers markets. She is studying Animal Sciences, is fluent in English and Chinese and is an excellent baker (who brings us the best treats!).
Luke Diehl is a recent grad from Augustana who also worked with us this past summer on our outdoor farm sites. He is now in charge of our Whyte Ave deliveries. Luke is an avid volunteer at the Valley Zoo, sharing many amazing stories about the animals with our team.
Amber Doll is the newest addition to our team, hired in the fall to assist with farmers markets and specialize in micro green production. She brings a strong background in cooking, foraging, and gardening to our team.