Farmers on 57th is a non-profit society operating 1 acre of community growing space in the Territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ / sel̓íl̓witulh Nations.
The seed for Farmers on 57th germinated in 2008 when founder Jen Rashleigh rode her bike past George Pearson Centre and the idea for garden programs for the long-term care residents on the expansive lawns struck. With the support of the Resident’s Council and Disability Alliance of BC we created an acre of community growing space on Vancouver Coastal Health land. In 2009 we built a ½ acre market garden, wheelchair accessible therapeutic gardens for Pearson residents, and a fruit tree orchard of 20 dwarf heirloom apple trees. Since then we have added 30 community garden plots, the Growing Eden program for new arrivals to the country in South Vancouver, a juicing program for Pearson residents with special diets, a flower grower mentorship and our annual Grow Your Own Food and Urban Farming Learning programs.
In the market garden alone, we have recruited & trained over 60 people, young and old, in our 8 month Urban Farming Learning Program, educating city dwellers, future farmers, home gardeners & students in small-scale sustainable agriculture practices. We have taught our Grow Your Own Food course to 114 families, guiding new growers through every step of the growing & harvest season spawning new community and front & backyard gardens in underserved South Vancouver and all over the city. We also operate a CSA program for 70 families, growing & distributing 1,400 boxes of uber-fresh vegetables from May-October each year.
We believe there is great power in people gaining access to the grounds and skills to commune with soil, the ecological systems that support human life on earth, and the community of people they live with. We want this for every person and strive to nurture those opportunities for as many people in as many neighbourhoods as possible.