Vancouver’s Sole Food Farms has transformed an old gas station into North American’s largest urban orchard! Located in Downtown Eastside, the orchard provides jobs to recovering addicts and those with mental illness, giving them a chance to make a living while raising organic food. The organic fruit, along with produce from three other sites, is sold to local restaurants and grocery stores.

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The urban farm, which occupies an old Petro-Canada station, is in Vancouver’s rough east end, which has the highest recorded drug use in Canada. Spreading across an acre, 500 lush fruit trees flourish in 800 tubs,  producing a variety of apples. Sole Food decided to plant the trees in tubs so that the orchard could be moved if the gas station’s land owners want to reclaim the lot.

Aside from apples, the trees grow Meyer lemons, persimmons, quinces, rare plums and cherry trees. Other tubs grow culinary herbs for local businesses. All together, Sole Food’s four urban farms produce 60 tons of food per year, which is distributed locally.

Founded by Michael Abelman, the urban farms not only provide Vancouver with farm fresh food, but to also make a difference in a neighborhood afflicted by drug use. By offering meaningful jobs to those in need, Sole Food hopes to help turn their lives around and build a better community.

+ Sole Food Farms

Via Fast Co Exist