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1982 Article: Richard Britz Author of ‘The Edible City’ Visits Vancouver

Monday, November 14, 2016 8:17
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City Farmer Hosts Author For Lecture Series

By Elizabeth Godley
Vancouver Sun
Feb 22, 1982

Dream of ‘city farming’ explained

Richard Britz knows a lot of people think his theories are naive.

But the architect cum systems designer cum landscape philosopher from Eugene, Ore., doesn’t mind.

Britz is author of a resource manual for urban agriculturalists called The Edible City. He was in Vancouver Saturday to speak at the first of 18 weekly lectures sponsored by City Farmer.

Issuing slides and drawings, Britz explained his dream of integrating food production into cities and transforming urban centre from blacktop to greensward, healthy environments for food production.”

For Britz, the biggest problem facing would-be farmers is pollution. Urban for production, he says, would force a clean-up.

“The most important thing (about urban agriculture ) is not the food, the housing, but the recognition that if our cities are unhealthy for the growth of plants, they are unhealthy whether you are growing plants or not,” he said.

Britz and partner Bill Higginson have devised a system of partially underground housing that not only is energy-efficient, but leaves the land surface free for growing food.

The scheme, the two men say, will result in more integrated land use, halting the competition for space between industry, agriculture and housing, and stemming urban sprawl.

In Eugene, a town of 106,000 about 250 kilometres south of Portland, Britz and Higginson have worked to encourage residents to use waste land – easements, boulevards and the like – to produce food, something they claim develops “a sense of pride in their own landscape.”

Cultivating this land on a neighbourhood scale means 40 per cent of residents’ food budgets can be produced locally, Britz said, adding that a share of the produce is usually enough to motivate people to take part in such a scheme.

Britz and Higginson said that, working with other groups, they have been able to change municipal laws so that chickens and other “productive” animals can be kept in the city.

On Amazon there are used and new copies depending on what country you visit. Canada has three new copies starting at $255.95. See the USA site here.

City Farmer’s Dinner for Britz

City Farmer held a private dinner upstairs at the Naam restaurant for Britz which was attended by City Farmer directors and friends and some of Britz’s students who were working as landscape architects in Vancouver.

This letter from the ‘Levenston archives’ describes the event at which Britz came late to the dinner due to traffic.

“We had a marvellous dinner for Britz for twenty Friday night upstairs at the Naam, a health food restaurant owned by Bob and Peter, City Farmer supporters. (Bob Woodsworth is a City Farmer founder and remains on the Board). They served salads, fresh bread, appetizers, eggplant parmesan, coffee, blueberry crumble, ice cream, – we bought wine at $10 a head. Everyone had such good time, they didn’t care that the guest of honour came late. He had a rewarding weekend anyway.”


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