Tag Archives: Urban Agriculture

Judy Kenzie – Changing the World, One Seed At A Time

8 May


There is a very remarkable woman living in our midst in the Strathcona area.  Her name is Judy Kenzie.  What makes her so remarkable you might ask?   Well this woman has her hands in a few pots shall we say, literally and figuratively.

Judy Kenzie is an avid gardener and has lived in Strathcona since 2002.  Judy saw a need for sustainable food resources in the community, but her aim is not to just give food handouts. She wishes to show people how to grow food for themselves and just how easy it is.  To drive this point home, again literally and figuratively, Judy has a Truck Farm.  It is a 1993 Mazda B2600 pick up truck with the license plate NON-GMO and truckfarm.ca painted on the back panel.  In the truck bed, you will find a living, growing vegetable garden. This truck gathers a crowd and photographs wherever it goes.


One year ago, Judy Kenzie started Strathcona 1890 Urban Seed Collections. Judy has packaged non-genetically modified seeds for herbs, vegetables and edible flowers with a primary focus on open-pollinated, heirloom seeds.  Her packaging has a very unique vintage feel created by combining her own artwork with a variety of botanicals from the 16th through 18th centuries to create one-of-a-kind imagery.  Judy travels with her seeds to various elementary schools, day care and community centers teaching children to grow their own vegetables. Did I mention she does most of this for free.

Judy sells her seeds at various stores through out the Lower Mainland as well as on line.  Her uniquely themed seed collections run the gamut from kid friendly collections with dwarf sunflower seeds, rainbow carrots, runner bean seeds to a Quick & Dirty collection comprising of faster growing varieties.   There is even an Edible Flowers collection that comes with a recipe for adding edible flowers to cheese with a wine glaze.

The aim is for Strathcona 1890 to be a sustainable business venture and provide bridging jobs for people on social assistance, single moms and people with disabilities who can work for only a few hours at a time.   When Judy isn’t busy teaching armies of children how to garden, she is nurturing seedlings for the Arms Open Wide Project at the Ray Cam Community Centre.  This is a collaborative effort involving a number of organizations that will have seniors and children planting, maintaining and harvesting a vertical garden.


If you are interested in purchasing seeds from Judy herself, you  are in luck. Judy will be participating in a number of events over the coming weeks where the Truck Farm will be making an appearance. One such appearance will be the 18th Annual Stone Soup Festival at the Britannia Community Centre this Saturday, May 11th which theme just happens to be urban agriculture.  The Truck Farm and Judy will then head over to the the Great Canadian Craft Spring Fling for May 12th.  Also for most of May, you will find the Truck Farm at the Sustainability Expo at Science World for Earth Month. Judy herself will be selling her heirloom seeds at various farmers markets around the Lower Mainland. Watch her Facebook Page for details of where she will be next.


What is remarkable is that, apart from a small Greenest City grant which covers about 10%, Judy pays for the Truck Farm out of her own pocket. The gas, the repairs as well as volunteering her time and resources to teach a new generation how to feed themselves.  Thus, she has now reached out for assistance through crowdfunding. If you are unfamiliar with the term, Wikipedia defines it as: “… the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the internet to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.”  If you wish to support Judy in her efforts, you can contribute by going to Indiegogo.com.

Judy is changing the world one seed at a time. Now that’s remarkable.

Photo Credit: Judy Kenzie

Stone Soup Festival Coming to Britannia Community Centre May 11th

6 May

Stone Soup 2013 Poster AB Final Small

Saturday, May 11th the Britannia Community Centre, 1661 Napier Street, will be hosting the 18th Annual Stone Soup Festival.  This event is a celebration of food, art, environment and community and is very much a family oriented event.  There is something for everyone at this celebration.    On site there will be a food market as well as local artists and community groups showcasing their works, live music, tea leaf reading, free soup, children’s activities including a Children’s Seed Planting Workshop from 1:00 p.m.– 4:00 p.m. in the West Kids’ Area. Also from Noon to 5:00 p.m. Jan Nguyen will be presenting an Origami Workshop at the Britannia Site.

This event focuses on food and the sharing of resources and eating ‘local’.  Stone Soup Festival will celebrate the diversity of food within the neighbourhood and the importance of food to the culture of our community. This year there will be a special focus on Urban Agriculture. To that end, there will be workshops on a variety of topics including The Urban Food Garden (Planning Tips & Advice from Victory Gardens) from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. in the Family Activity Room, How To Plant & Care For A Tree Workshop by David Tracey from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the Al Mattison Lounge as well as a presentation by Peter Ladner on Digging Economic Sustainability into the Urban Food Movement at 3:00 p.m. in the Britannia Library. And if that isn’t enough, does your bike need a tune up? Kickstand will be hosting a Bike Tune Up Workshop which is by donation.

Live music will be at the Commercial Drive Stage. The schedule kicks it off with Katheryn Petersen at Noon. At 1:00 p.m. you will find the Carnival Band, then Tim Sars Band will be on stage at 1:30 p.m., Backspin gets going at 2:00 p.m. At 3:00 p.m. Glenn Watts takes the stage and to finish things off, Rio Samaya at 4:00 p.m.  And of course free soup will be available from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. in Gym D compliments of Liquids and Solids Cafe & Market.  Come out and celebrate local food in your community!

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