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Mason Street City Farm continues to innovate

Mason Street City Farm, a quarter-acre urban farm in downtown Victoria, is teaming up with Limbic Media to upgrade its technology and teach high-tech green job skills to Victoria high school students.

The farm is known for innovative projects, like Victoria’s largest aquaponics greenhouse. The system grows fish and vegetables in a closed loop that conserves water and minimizes waste.

Farm partners Angela Moran and Jesse Brown also offer a paid internship program to teach Victoria residents of modest means the necessary skills to run an urban farm or homestead.

Their next one-of-a-kind project will have local high school students from the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry build a networked remote control system for the aquaponics greenhouse.

Limbic Media, a local interactive media and technology business, will work with the students to design and build controllers, and Mason Street Farm will teach them about aquaponics and sustainable urban agriculture techniques.

“We’re so excited to work with these students on connecting technology and growing food,” said Angela Moran, who has been farming at Mason Street since 2006.

“We’re in a time where urban agriculture and food sovereignty is more and more important, but a lot of young people don’t see farming as a viable job.”

Added Manjinder Benning, Limbic Media’s director: “I can’t wait to see what the students come up with. They’ll learn high-tech engineering, product design, and client service skills, but for a lot of them growing food is also a new skill. Thinking through practical applications for technical skills is the best learning environment.”

To fund this and other educational programs at the farm, Mason Street Farm and the Island Chefs Collaborative are hosting a “farmraiser” called Boots ‘n Suits — a five-course feast from the fields by Victoria’s top chefs, with local alcohol pairings, and a live flamenco performance.

The event will be held Nov. 14 at the White Eagle Hall in James Bay. Ticket information is atbootsnsuits2014.eventbrite.ca. Guests are encouraged to wear gumboots along with their best evening wear.

“Victoria is hungry for more local, sustainably raised food, and this is as local and sustainable as it gets,” said farmer Jesse Brown.

“We are growing food blocks from the restaurants and markets that buy it, and doing so in less space with less resources than most people think is possible. We’re looking forward to growing our job training programs next year to provide even more value to the community.”

 

 

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