We are thrilled to be welcoming Curtis Stone, Founder of Green City Acres in Kelowna as our keynote speaker at the 5th Annual Vancouver Urban Farming Forum. Curtis will be giving the morning’s keynote talk as well as a workshop later in the day.
Keynote Address Synopsis: Farming in the city
Workshop Synopsis: From Lawn to Productive Mini-Farm
Curtis Stone is the owner of Green City Acres, a commercial urban farm based out of Kelowna, BC. In this workshop, he’ll walk you through the process in which a 2000 square foot lawn can be converted to a productive mini farm. He’ll discuss the technical process of conversion, and the economics of production. This talk will be useful for anyone who is curious about how much food can be harvested from an average lawn space or anyone who is interested in commercial urban farming. Curtis will demonstrate that your average lawn can be a considerable source of revenue, generating $18,000, or a significant source of food for the community.
About Curtis Stone
Before starting his urban farm in the fall of 2009, Curtis had absolutely no previous experience in farming or even gardening. Up until 2008, he had been living in Montreal, trying to make a go at being a working musician. It was many years ago, when he heard the old cliche, “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”. That was a turning point for him in that he knew that it was important for us to be active participants in our society, rather than just being by-standers. But it wasn’t until Curtis discovered Permaculture, while searching around on the internet for sustainable building methods, that it opened up a pandora’s box of information and inspiration for him. From there, he knew that he wanted to live in a way that was life affirming, not destructive. He left Montreal in March of 2008 to return to his home town of Kelowna, BC, to try and pursue this kind of life style. It was a bike tour down the west coast from Kelowna to San Diego in fall 2008 where he visited off-grid homesteads, eco villages, and urban farms, that inspired him to try to make a difference through his own actions. Upon returning from the trip totally inspired and ready to do something involved in sustainable ag, but not exactly sure what yet, a friend of his directed him towards SPIN farming.
The stars must have aligned at that movement because once Curtis discovered that there was a way to farm that required very little investment, no need to own land or heavy machinery, he was confident that he could do it. He spent the rest of the fall and winter of 2009 studying SPIN farming and various other gardening and farming books, and then decided to go for it. With a little bit of money saved from a 6 month season of tree-planting, he had everything he needed to start a farm. After completing a successful and profitable first season in 2010, Curtis is a case study example that the methods taught in the SPIN farming models, are simple and easily transferable to anyone, including those who have no experience.
Through the off-season, Curtis works as public speaker on food related issues, and is a consultant for multiple community food projects throughout Kelowna. In September 2010 he was awarded ‘gardener of the year’ from the city of Kelowna’s Communities in Bloom.