Victoria-based charity takes over an urban farm in Vic West

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A charity that promotes food security and urban agriculture on Vancouver Island has taken over Topsoil, a private urban farm business growing a variety of vegetables.

Topsoil has been operating a 20,000-square-foot urban farm at 395 Harbour Rd., just off the Galloping Goose Trail in Victoria’s Dockside Green area.

On Tuesday, March 5, they announced that after 10 years of growing fresh produce for its on-site market, weekly veggie-box program and local restaurants, Topsoil’s operations will now be taken over by FED Urban Agriculture Society.

“After 10 years, just feeling like it was the right time and right place,” said Chris Hildreth, Topsoil founder and CEO.

“Our model was super productive and growing for our thousands of community members every week, and 30-plus restaurants have just been really embraced by the community as well,” he said.

As Hildreth focuses on family and a new business venture, he’s decided to sell his farming operation to FED. It’s a charity Topsoil has been working with for a few years now.

“To be able to pass it on to an organization that I couldn’t love more and have been working with and just knew that they would be able to steward that farm an even better way that we could,” he said.

“To be honest, like now moving forward, they can really grow it and I’m really excited to continue to support them in any way that I can to help them achieve their goals.”

FED’s program manager, Brianna Stewart, said they are lucky to have been able to take over the site they have always dreamed of. She says they will bring the best practices of a private business and charity together and grow what will now be known as FED Urban Farm well into the future.

“We are still a charity,” she said. “We have a charitable mandate that comes with responsibility, so providing education and continuing to support food security is a major goal for us.”

FED Urban Farm is ready to open its gates to its guests starting this May.

“I think the biggest thing this year while we get our bearings is just welcoming more people to the site,” added Stewart.

“So we’ll be doing that through farm tours, workshops, volunteer work parties, but really just getting people on-site learning about food systems, and engaging with this incredible food asset right here in downtown Victoria.”

Harry CorroHarry Corro

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