sprout

HOW TO: SUNFLOWER GREENS

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STEP 1:  Preparing a little greenhouse/garden bed

  1. Purchase some whole sunflower seeds that are meant for human consumption (Not the kind you feed the birds with).  I order my seeds from the Sprout People, but I am sure there are other places you can find them as well. 
  2. Save one of those white plastic food containers with clear plastic tops that you get from ordering take-out food and poke a few holes in the bottom with scissors or a pen (If you don’t order take-out then you could always use a regular plant pot that has drainage).  Save the plastic top to use as a cover while the seeds are under the soil and then you can use the top as a drip tray as they start to grow bigger.  (As you can see below I saved two of the clear plastic tops so I could have a top and a drip tray at the same time – We order a lot of Thai take-out because bringing a 3 year old and a 1 year old to a restaurant is just not fun!)
  3. Get organic potting soil and fill the plastic tray up to the rim (or about 3/4 full).  Now you have a little greenhouse/garden bed all set up for your seeds.

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Urban Farming Series: edible sprout

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One day last summer while wandering around UBC Farm, I spotted someone working on some platform beds covered in plastic, the likes of which I was not used to seeing.

Curiously I walked over to take a closer look. What I found was Chris Thoreau and his sunflower sprouts.

You may see Chris around the city at various farm markets selling his sprouts, but there is more to him and his company, My Urban Farm. Chris knows food. He has spent many years working in the restaurant industry as well as many more years teaching, learning and farming in Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

You may see Chris around the city at various farm markets selling his sprouts, but there is more to him and his company, My Urban Farm. Chris knows food. He has spent many years working in the restaurant industry as well as many more years teaching, learning and farming in Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

Chris and his My Urban Farm bring a wealth of knowledge into helping urbanites turn their land and yards into productive food systems – and he can do it with very little environmental impact. If you see Chris at the next farmer’s market, buy yourself a bag of sunflower sprouts and ask him what he can do to make your garden a great one.

Chris and his My Urban Farm bring a wealth of knowledge into helping urbanites turn their land and yards into productive food systems – and he can do it with very little environmental impact. If you see Chris at the next farmer’s market, buy yourself a bag of sunflower sprouts and ask him what he can do to make your garden a great one.

Tell us a little about your business, your background and how you decided to become an urban farmer?

My Urban Farm focuses on growing sunflower sprouts and pea shoots for local markets and restaurants. All production and deliveries are done by bicycle. Previous to this I operated a small organic farm on Vancouver Island. I am just finishing an Agroecology degree at UBC. Whilst attending UBC I still wanted to grow food and was thus obligated to be an urban farmer! So I developed this sprouting system to be portable and small-scale, yet still profitable. I am now in my second season.

What do you find are the advantages, disadvantages and challenges of urban farming (compared to small scale rural farming)?

Advantages: close to market, promotes local foods, reduced food miles, city water source
Disadvantages: usually requires multiple sites thus more travel time; hard to find land; land tenure unstable; pollution; vandalism

Challenges: Time management

What do you grow? What is your favourite plant/vegetable/fruit to grow? Why?

Sunflower Shoot and Pea Shoots. I like these as they grow on a quick ten-day cycle and can be grown just about anywhere. Plus no one else grows them!

When you harvest your produce, where do you sell it or what happens to it?

Farmers’ markets, CSAs, restaurants, grocers

What are your views on today’s food system?

Too commoditized; still too much focus on chemicals and GMO; we are all disconnected from our food

What are your hopes for the future of urban farming?

City makes more land available for farming; more grants for urban farmers

Finally, since this conversation is all about food, what is going to be on your dinner plate tonight?

Had urban zucchini stuffed with rice, currants, roasted sunflower seeds, and asiago cheese and steamed urban cauliflower shoots, my own sunflower sprouts, and farmers’ market biodynamic sauerkraut.

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http://landwaterfork.com/urban-farming-series-my-urban-farm/