When Eric Buhne first got involved in politics, he helped form a group called Fair Vote at the University of Victoria.
Their purpose was to help promote the push for proportional representation in the 2018 B.C. referendum. It failed, and a year later, Buhne and a couple friends turned their focus to food security.
“We want to start an urban agricultural cooperative,” said Buhne, 23. “The goal is people can pay $5 a year, and create a network where everyone can trade the foods that they grow for other food.”
It’s called Curbside Farms, and it’s still a year or two away from registering as a cooperative but the work is underway, Buhne said. In the meantime, the group has been deconstructing pallets in the driveway of the home Buhne grew up in, in Fairfield. They reuse the wood to build 16-square-foot boxes that anyone can order.
For $25 each, they’ll bring it over in four pieces, and finish putting it into your new garden. Buhne has planted four of the boxes on the boulevard in front of his parents’ house.
“We also want to get more people gardening, particularly on boulevards,” Buhne said. “Our goal is to make it easier to grow urban food.”
Ultimately, the goal is to secure grant money. To get there, Buhne has some more paperwork to do.
“We think we can create a [combination of] agricultural cooperative and a nonprofit,” he said.
Demand is high. Without a website or social media effort they’ve already built and delivered 20 boxes and have a list for many more, just through their Facebook page and word of mouth. About half the boxes delivered are on boulevards.
“The best marketing is when we’re outside my house building a palette,” Buhne said. “There are probably more people that want help than we’re capable of giving, so we are looking for more volunteers.”