Urban agriculture is becoming a staple part of sustainable cities and FED Garden is helping bring it to Victoria.

FED Urban Agriculture is the manifestation of a new vision for Victoria.

This vision includes lush, green spaces, roof top and boulevard gardens and mini food forests which would all attract hundreds of pollinators into our urban space. Not only does this vision paint a beautiful picture, but it is also a practical solution in tackling issues surrounding access to nutritious food, food security and ecological regeneration for the soil within the city. In densely populated areas where access to nutritious food can be limited, urban agriculture improves dietary diversity and promotes healthier lifestyles. Additionally, it contributes to environmental sustainability by repurposing vacant lots and rooftops for food production, thereby reducing the urban heat island effect and improving air quality. Socially, urban agriculture fosters community cohesion through shared spaces like community gardens, where residents from diverse backgrounds come together to cultivate crops and exchange knowledge.

Established in 2013, FED Urban Agriculture has been a food security-based charity which has launched several projects including boulevard gardens and My FED Farm, which helps deliver fresh produce to underserved communities in Greater Victoria. Their initial goal was to increase food awareness by establishing a downtown local food district, but it quickly expanded with the support of the city and other local charities. In the spring of 2024, FED made a big leap in expanding their mission when they took over an urban farm located in Vic West which was previously run by TOPSOIL. With this expansion, FED wants to prove that urban agriculture is profitable and economically sustainable and to encourage people to source their food locally to fight against the globalized and disconnected food system that we have been accustomed to.

FED and the expansion of urban agriculture also can generate economic opportunities in Victoria,

by creating jobs in food production, distribution, and related services. One of the missions of FED is to create a new generation of young farmers by expanding the urban agricultural industry within the city of Victoria. Industrial agriculture is one of the globe’s leading sources of air pollution, a big emitter of greenhouse gases and uses excessive amounts of the planet’s freshwater. Initiatives like FED are crucial in combating the negative effects of the agricultural industry and help us move towards a more sustainable food industry. By training young people to be literate in farming, prioritize the well-being and dignity of the individuals within their communities, and to take care of and restore the environment means that agriculture can really shift its negative impacts to more positive ones.

One of FED’s most recent initiatives was their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program

It allowed for Victoria residents to subscribe to a weekly veggie box from May through October. This subscription costs customers $37.50 per week and feeds two adults. It also allows customers to support local farmers and reduce their carbon footprints in a much easier way than trying to source purely local produce every week at the grocery store. The CSA program is only made possible with the new urban farm in Vic West as it allows FED farmers to grow a more diverse and hefty harvest compared to smaller boulevard and rooftop gardens. In addition to the CSA program, FED also aims to collaborate with local restaurants by providing local and seasonal produce, making it easy for restaurants to reduce their carbon footprint and support other local industries.

As a restaurant that aims to source local and help make a positive impact on our community, Big Wheel Burger and the Big Wheel Community Foundation support the mission of FED whole heartedly. As some of you may already know, the Big Wheel Community Foundation is our charity that devotes our resources to the relief of poverty through the promotion of food security. Since that is our mission, we have chosen to support FED since the beginning by providing them with compost for soil and providing them with a monthly grant to aid them in the project of building backyard gardens for community members experiencing food insecurity. Going forward we will continue to support FED as they expand and to tell our customers to look out for some FED veggies on our menu this summer.

If you have any gardening or veggie related questions, we urge you to check out the FED website. They offer educational programs for those who want to gain more gardening experience, there are volunteer opportunities and collaboration opportunities for businesses to work with FED. If you or someone you know are experiencing food insecurity, then you can also check their website to request to have a backyard garden made or a community garden built in your neighbourhood. https://www.get-fed.ca/