Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture

Meet City Farmer Staff at the Garden or call our Compost Hotline

2150 Maple Street (at 6th Avenue) Vancouver


The Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden is open Monday to Saturday, 9am-4pm. Staff work part time, so depending on the day you visit, you will meet one of our experts. Our team answer questions on such subjects as composting, water conservation, pest control, natural lawn care, and general gardening, all part of the the City of Vancouver's "Grow Natural" program, all related to environmental conservation and urban sustainability.

We are testing our Compost Garden webcam.

City Farmer staff both garden and teach at our Demonstration Garden all year long. They give workshops, attend 'outreach' events in the community, speak to the media, develop educational material for our web site, answer the Compost Hotline, look for new varieties of plants and search out the "greenest" gardening techniques. Here's a brief summary of their expertise.

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Sharon Slack: Head Gardener. Sharon has gardened organically for 35 years in her Vancouver garden where she grows vegetables, apples and berries, herbs, ornamentals, and native plants. She regularly speaks to local groups about urban agriculture and opens her home to tours. Sharon is also an avid naturalist and belongs to Canadian Organic Growers, Seeds of Diversity Canada, Vancouver Natural History Society, World Wildlife Fund, Canadian Wildlife Federation, Naturescape BC, and the BC Native Plant Society. This is her 7th year as head gardener with City Farmer.

Graham Clark: Landscaper. Graham has studied mechanical engineering at UBC, graphics arts, computer animation, and video production. He has a keen environmental sense and in 1993 started a landscaping company, "The Human Powered Gardener", that used only hand powered tools. The company grew over the next 8 years and received the Mayors Environmental Achievement Award in 2000. Graham sold the business in 2001 to have more time at home with his 2 children, and to focus on computer animation. He has been working for City Farmer for 4 years.

Farhat Khan: Gardener. Bachelor of Commerce degree, wormshop leader. Farhat has a Bachelor of Commerce degree and, during the week, she manages a call centre for a local mutual fund management company. Farhat first came under the magical spell of City Farmer's beautiful Demonstration Garden four years ago when she participated in a worm composting class. Soon after the class, she began to volunteer at City Farmer, primarily helping with the Water Wise Garden. For the last two years, she has been working Saturdays at the Garden and teaching worm composting classes.


Laura Plant: Gardener. Master's Degree program in Environmental Education. Laura first entered through the garden gates in 1997 during a practicum for her Master's Degree program in Environmental Education. Her previous employment as a Flower Girl with the Whistler Parks Department's Horticulture Crew prepared her well for work at City Farmer. Laura was a volunteer with the Brackendale Bald Eagle Count every winter. This is one of the largest congregations of wintering bald eagles in the world. Her Saturdays at the garden help balance out her office job during the week as a Manager for Tourism British Columbia.

Laura and partner Matt are presently on a one year travel expedition in Asia. Read about their adventures here. A Year in Asia 2006- 2007


Maria Keating: Pest Manager. BSc(Agr.) Maria is a freelance photographer specializing in macro gardening. She has been curious about the role insects play in the ecosystem for over a decade. She has 8 years experience working as a Greenhouse Biological Control Consultant, a City Farmer Entomologist and Gardener, and works with ( a beneficial insect supply company. Through educational workshops and presentations she has been spreading the concept of using beneficial insects to combat pest problems commercially in our food systems and at home in our gardens.


Lauren Welch: Children's Wormshop Instructor. Lauren is City Farmer's children's worm workshop instructor. For the past four years, she has conducted workshops both at the garden and in various elementary schools throughout the Lower Mainland. Additionally, Lauren acts as a spokeswoman for City Farmer at numerous outreach events such as the Vancouver Truck Rodeo, the Landfill Open House, and B.C. Rivers' Day. She is currently attending the University of British Columbia with a major in human kinetics in the field of exercise science. She is also a member of the University's Track and Field team, specializing in the 400m hurdles. Lauren has great passion for working with children and strives to establish both an appreciation for the environment and lifelong ecologically sound practices.


Michael Levenston: Executive Director. Attended Trent University. Michael is a founding member of City Farmer Society and has promoted urban agriculture for 28 years. He administers the Society's activities, maintains the web site "Urban Agriculture Notes" and is involved in all the Society's projects, including publishing ventures, courses, and setting up demonstration gardens in the community, schools, hospitals, roof and home food gardens. He is a member of the Support Group for Urban Agriculture (SGUA) based in Ottawa and a founding member of the Resource Centre on Urban Agriculture and Forestry (RUAF) based in Leusden, Holland.


Arzeena Hamir: Agronomist. Arzeena is an agronomist specializing in organic vegetable gardening. She received her BSC. in Crop Science from the University of Guelph and her Master's Degree in Sustainable Agriculture from Wye College, University of London. She was a CUSO volunteer in Thailand, training farmers in organic farming practices and did her Master's research in Gujarat, India, studying indigenous agricultural knowledge. Arzeena worked as the staff agronomist at West Coast Seeds before starting her own company, Terra Viva Organics. She teaches "Natural Pest Control" and "Organic Vegetable Gardening" classes for Van Dusen Gardens, The North Shore Recycling Program, and the City of Richmond and can regularly be heard on CBC's BC Almanac during the organic gardening open line.

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Revised August 15, 2009

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture