MEGA-NEWS: Sole Food sets sights on new retail, eventual acreage

Sole Food urban farmers are launching a crowd-sourced fundraising campaign May 14 to help finance their move into two Vancouver retail locations.

The two spots—one a converted shipping container at Terminal and Main, the other in Granville Island’s public market—will help the organization provide year-round funding to their marginalized employees. It’s also the first step in Sole Food’s plan to buy permanent acreage for a farm and living quarters outside of Vancouver.

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The organization, which trains low-income people to be farmers and offers them seasonal work, currently supplies food to 66 restaurants, four farmers markets, and 100 subscribers to its community supported agriculture program. Sole Food operates four urban farms on city and developer land in the Downtown Eastside.

“This is the first piece in a longer strategy to raise money to develop the business,” says Sole Food co-founder Seann Dory.

He says the retail locations will also sell produce from other local suppliers. The Main and Terminal location will feature local coffee, grains, and meat. Prices at that location will be “pay-what- you-can.”

Sole Food hopes to raise $100,000 for the renovation and inventory stocking of the two retail spaces, starting with a fundraising dinner on May 14 (details on page 22), and followed by an online Indie Gogo campaign. When that campaign finishes, Dory is setting his sights on a broader campaign to support the purchase of the permanent acreage outside the city.

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