Nelson Urban Acres is bringing fresh produce closer to home.

We are a multi-plot urban farm in the city of Nelson, BC. We are working backyard gardens using low-impact, organic farming techniques to grow fresh produce. This year we are growing a variety of vegetables and fruit throughout the season for Nelson's community markets, local restaurants and families.

The Glimmer of a future.....Is now a shining star....New operators of NUA

Happy spring everyone :)

Glimmer of a future for Nelson Urban Acres..........I am so excited to be the new farmer of NUA with my little helper farmer Maryjane, who is also so excited to start digging in the dirt and showing her lovely smile at the markets.

I will be active on this page now and starting all the gardening, will keep you posted on whats happening, so please stay tuned and check NUA out and see whats new :) looking forward to working with the community and seeing you at the markets this coming season :) happy digging happy spring everyone!


Nelson Urban Acres: New operator

photo-1.JPGHappy 2012, everyone. This is Farmer Paul reporting from his new home in the eastern Ontario town of Cobourg. It's middle of winter here — but rest assured, spring's always on our minds.

Just to update you all: the new operator of Nelson Urban Acres, fresh from Salt Spring Island, is Jasmin Coffey. She will be moving to Nelson in the spring, and she's very excited to get into the dirt!

You can now use the Contact page to get in touch with Jasmin, or e-mail

If you'd to contact me or Laire about our new urban farming endeavours, send an e-mail off to That's our new farm: Victory Garden Vegetables! The website is on its way.

Urban farming full-speed ahead!


Farmer Paul & Farmer Laire

Nelson Urban Acres: glimmer of a future!

Market displayIt looks like there is a good chance a couple from Salt Spring Island may be interested in taking over Nelson Urban Acres next year! I have yet to finalize details with them, but I thought I'd share the good news and keep everyone in the loop.

Urban farming onward and upward!

Nelson Urban Acres: no more?

Butterfly Bush.jpgAs most people reading this have probably already heard, Farmers Paul and Laire will be moving to Cobourg, Ontario in less than 6 weeks. My father passed away this year and we are moving into his old home. Obviously, this means neither of us will be here to contine the farm in future years.

I have met a few people interested in taking on bits and pieces of the farm: a couple of the gardens, the walk-in cooler, the tiller, etc. But so far the number of people who've contacted me saying they are seriously interested in running NUA as a farm business... well, not so many.

So I'm putting the word out there:

Who would like to take over the largest of Nelson's urban gardens, the market materials, the brand, the website?

It's up for grabs at this point.


After a long illness, my father, Richard Homme, has passed away. I am with family back in Cobourg, Ontario, staying in his home until we have sifted through everything and, eventually, got the house ready for sale.

My sister, Meta, and I felt that our dad would have wanted us to grow his vegetable garden one last time. He turned his front lawn into a productive vegetable garden with the help of a permaculture design consultant. Meta and I have revived his garden space and are planning to turn it into a zero- to low-maintenance vegetable garden for this growing season. Here is how it looks after being planted:

Ricardo's Garden


Farming Workshops for SelfDesign High

SelfDesign High studentsFor the next few weeks, a group of high school students of Nelson's SelfDesign High will be joining me at Nelson Urban Acres once a week to learn about food, farming and sustainability. My good friend Paula Sobie (whom I've mentioned before here and here) connected me with this group, and we agreed, what better way to teach kids about sustainability than to check out their local urban farm! And what better month to do it than April, Earth Month.



Last weekend we got two of our three potato varieties planted: Russian Banana (a fingerling variety) and Russian Blue. Very exciting! Here's what they might look like come harvest time:

 Creative Commons, photo by Steven Walling  Creative Commons, Will Merydith's photostream


Give backyard chickens a chance

I recently wrote a letter to mayor and council on the topic of backyard chickens in Nelson. They will be considering whether to dedicate more staff time to the issue.

I submitted my letter to The Nelson Post, and you can read it here.

Cheap hotbed/greenhouse/cold frame

Makeshift greenhouseSpring has sprung here in town, and here at home we're giving our seedlings a head start. I built an inexpensive greenhouse-like structure on the south side of our garage, which is the single spot on our property that receives the most sunlight. It's not so much a greenhouse because you can't walk inside, nor is it quite a cold frame because it's heated from below. Perhaps the closest thing it resembles is an electric-heated hotbed (but using electric blankets instead of a soil heating cable). I've blogged about more traditional, compost-heated hotbeds before.

My structure is basically a giant picture window resting on my old plywood market table. (I kept the table from tipping over from the weight of the window by zip-tying concrete blocks to the back legs. It seems to be pretty stable!)

I first covered the table with a blanket from the thrift store (for insulation). Then I layered it with two electric blankets, also from thrift stores. Over the electric blankets I placed a plastic sheet to keep them from getting wet.


Parsnip Picking

It's the middle of the winter here in Nelson. The gardens have been pretty well protected winter-long with a pretty good layer of snow covering it most times, and when not, it wasn't usually cold enough to do damage to root veggies still snug in the ground. Most of the snow at our elevation melted over the last week or so, but it was cold enough last night to freeze the upper inch of soil. So when we had a short window of sunshine in the middle of the day today, it was just enough warmth to thaw that upper crust.

So Laire and I went outside and dug up the last dozen or so parsnips:


We also took advantage of the sunshine to turn and amalgamate a few compost piles. Some shovelfuls were just teeming with red wigglers! Nice to see so much life during what otherwise seems like such a dead part of the year.

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