Each year, more and more city dwellers are discovering the joys of gardening. Whether they are called to the task for economic or ecological reasons, or simply for the sheer pleasure of getting their hands in the muck, the urban population is joining the agricultural fold in big numbers. And not too soon! Demographics have changed radically, people want to know where their food comes from and how it was grown and handled, and they want to be part of the local food movement. Hence, the urban farmer.
In Spring 2012, Télévision de Radio-Canada introduced Fermier urbain, a program that follows three families as they create new gardens. Hosted by chef Ricardo Larrivée, whose weekday cooking show, Ricardo, is seen on the same network, Fermier urbain brings us their unfolding stories as they learn to plan and work their mini-farms at a triplex and a condo in Montréal, and a house in a Montréal suburb. The gardeners and audience alike are guided by an expert horticulturalist each week, who also contributes tutorials and answers questions on the program’s website. The site provides an interactive tool as well, that allows audience members to create a virtual garden as they prepare for their actual urban farming experience.
Fermier urbain features special guests each week, as well, such as a group of enthusiasts who transformed a Montréal laneway into a productive food gardening space. Other guests have included a landscape architect who created an “edible campus” in unused or underused places at McGill University; and a gardener who began a roof garden at the Vancouver YWCA six years ago that continues to provide hundreds of kilos of food for the needy but, more importantly, as he says, “grows community.”
Ricardo also presents a cooking lesson each week.
Fermier urbain is a great example of the role and strength of the public broadcaster in inspiring, educating and entertaining its audience. The program is topical, relevant and contemporary, and it is fully aligned to CBC/Radio-Canada’s strategic priorities, which include more digital, more regional and more domestic content for Canadians. Easily accessible on Télévision de Radio-Canada, Tou.tv and iTunes, and offering exclusive Web content, this is a program that is bound to interest everyone — and to fit into their busy gardening schedules.
Canadians are increasingly interested in knowing where and how their food is grown.
Many urban dwellers prefer to grow their own food, for pleasure, economy and safety.
On television and on the Web, Radio-Canada’s Fermier urbain inspires new and seasoned gardeners to dig in.