WATCH: Local urban agriculture is growing in popularity and Victoria is no exception. Monica Martinez has the story.
In the industrial part of Dockside Green, a new vision of urban farming is growing.
“I really wanted to create a business that would bypass the entire distribution system and work directly with the chef,” said Topsoil founder and owner Chris Hildreth.
The “smart pots,” geo-textile fabric containers, are filled with soil and will soon be planted with veggies.
The produce will then be delivered by bicycle to three local restaurants – Fiamo, Spinnakers and Canoe.
Canoe’s Executive Chef Gabe Milne said she’s excited to be getting produce from so close to home.
“Our plan is to use it as our primary source of local produce. Obviously in the world we live in, we have to outsource certain things,” he said
Spinnakers Executive Chef Ali Ryan plans on sourcing about twenty vegetables from Topsoil.
“Initially, lots of green stuff, leaf lettuce I can turn into my side salads, carrots, basil, kale, potatoes, turnips, radishes,” she said.
Local urban agriculture is not a new idea but it is growing in popularity and unlike traditional farming, you can easily move these pots anywhere.
“We can put this model on to a rooftop, we can put it onto vacant land, we can put it on to patios, we can put it on to balconies,” Hildreth said.
The 28-year-old first got the idea while studying business at the University of Victoria. A few months after graduation last year, he put the idea into practice, as a pilot project on a downtown rooftop.
“I”m very excited, it’s been a long haul. I’ve put a lot of effort into this,” he said.
It became a viable business and now, thanks to Dockside Green, he has access to a piece of land for one year, for free.
“So really providing a testing ground for local businesses and entrepreneurs to take the ideas they’ve had in small spaces and increase it and add to the vibrancy of our city,” said Ally Dewji, Dockside Green Development Manager.
In a few years, Hildreth wants to supply restaurants with 100,000 pounds of produce. And with his first clients only minutes away by bike, he’s bringing the local food movement much closer to home.