Edmonton

Farm on wheels brings hands-on food education to Edmonton classrooms

We have wheat farms, dairy farms, beat farms, and urban farms, just to name a few. Now, you can add another type of farm to that list: a farm on wheels.

An Edmonton woman is hoping to crowdfund $100,000 to bring food education to city classrooms

Davidson hopes the farm will hit the road by December. (indiegogo)

We have wheat farms, dairy farms, beat farms, and urban farms, just to name a few. Now, you can add another type of farm to that list: a farm on wheels.

To most, the farm on wheels would look like a shipping container on the back of a truck. But to Debra Davidson, a professor at the University of Alberta and director of Prairie Urban Farms, it's so much more.

"We think it could represent a very important factor in building our local food systems in a sustainable way, because it really approaches two challenges head on," Davidson told CBC's Radio Active.

"The first one is that it represents a growing strategy that can extend our growing season. We need to explore other kinds of growing techniques because we have such a short season."
Debra Davidson hopes to bring a taste of farm culture to schools across Edmonton. (CBC)

The second challenge addressed by the farm is a little more nuanced. For a long time, people — especially those living in the city — have been separated from their food, Davidson said. She hopes to change that by offering a firsthand experience to children who have never worked in a garden or seen vegetables grow.

The farm on wheels is a shipping container that is essentially half classroom and half indoor farm.The container would be on the back of the flatbed truck so it would be able to move to classrooms throughout the city. The farm portion would be full of vertical towers that support hydroponic food production and can support dense production within a small space. The technology will primarily be used to grow greens, berries and herbs.

Davidson wants to crowdfund $100,000 to make the farm a reality. If crowdfunding is successful, she  hopes the farm will hit the road by December.

She said projects like this have happened elsewhere but never in Edmonton, and not created with the main intention of teaching. Teaching kids how their food is created could extend beyond the classroom, she added.

"We want to get children get connected to food so they can take that excitement and that connection home to their families and their communities," Davidson said.  

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