the communities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Our concept is to establish a large, highly integrated agricultural center that will include a CEED Centre farm, a farm school hosted by a syndicate of post-secondary institutions, a community allotment garden (small plots, large plots, community orchard, community beeyard), and incubator farms for new young farmers to learn the business of farming. We would like to partner with a wide range of organizations to fully realize the potential of a site that combines energy technologies, waste treatment and farming in one place alongside activities that promote social inclusion.
CEED Centre Farm
The CEED Centre farm will integrate organic waste treatment with energy generation and food growing. We envision a biodigester producing combined heat and power (CHP) for a greenhouse that will feature aquaponics (fish and plants). A mid-scale in-vessel composter, like the Citypod or similar technologies, will turn restaurant waste into farm-ready soil so that our field crops are well fertilized organically. We might also use some innovative waste treatment systems, such those being pioneered by Enterra Feed Corp. that use insects to compost and then turn part of the output into livestock feed--in our case, fish food. We will use cargo bicycles and other low-carbon transport to collect the organic waste off-site and convert it to nutrients so we can use it on site.
Getting Local Food to You
We will have a number of ways to sell our produce, fish, honey, fruit pies: at a kiosk on the farm, through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) plan, whereby participants pre-purchase a season's worth of produce, through the wonderful Haney Farmers Market, and through the Golden Ears Community Co-op when it becomes active. We will also offer site tours and host events on the farm to let people get closer to their food sources and share information about food growing.
The site will create several dozen jobs and increase the potential for community engagement through day programs. The farm school will educate our next generation of farmers and work with the CEED Centre farm to develop and test new ways of sustainable farming. We will be able to offer farm apprenticeships and help mentor and share equipment with the young farmers using the incubator farm sites.
Centre of Excellence
The site may be a candidate for inclusion in a Centre of Excellence and Innovation aspired to by Invest North Fraser, part of the District of Maple Ridge's economic development strategies. In fact, the Centre for Agricultural Excellence will closely align with many of the strategies and plans of local municipal governments, the regional government, the provincial government and the federal government. Not least, it will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making food available locally (most food travels thousands of kilometers) and by diverting organic waste from landfills. Energy efficiency, nutrient cycling and sustainable agriculture (including permaculture) will be key design features of the site and the practices of the farm and farm related businesses.
Invitation to Participate
We invite all who are interested in this concept to contact us and help turn it into a reality. There is much research to conduct and much planning to do. It will be challenging and very rewarding. Talk to you soon. Please watch for updates.
Fuel from the vine (biodigester powers greenhouses)
Aquaponics at Vancouver Island University
Kwantlen Polytechnic University Institute for Sustainable Food Systems
Centre of Excellence and Innovation
The CEED Centre is contemplating setting up a social enterprise that will fund a portion of its Neighbourhood House programs while advancing its other mandates to contribute to social, economic and environmental well-being in
Tweets from Executive Director Christian Cowley