Better Gnomes and Gardens exhibit raises awareness and funds


Community involvement gets a quirky makeover at the BC Home + Garden Show


Better Gnomes & Gardens exhibit to raise both awareness and funds for Sole Food Street Farms


Vancouver’s most notable personalities are coming together for the first-ever Better Gnomes & Gardens feature at the BC Home + Garden Show, happening February 19-23, 2014 at BC Place Stadium. Sixteen of the city’s top movers and shakers will transform a plain garden gnome into a whimsical treasure to benefit Sole Food Street Farms, a grassroots non-profit created to empower and employ underprivileged individuals in Vancouver.




Inspired by the world-renowned Chelsea Flower Show’s decision to lift a century-long ban on garden gnomes in 2013, the silent auction-style feature will offer the show’s 56,000+ attendees the opportunity to bid on and bring home one of 16 ceramic gnomes artfully decorated by Vancouver’s most influential gnome enthusiasts:


According to Jill Kivett, show manager for Marketplace Events, producer of the BC Home + Garden Show, the exhibit is an exercise in giving back to the community – both physically and socially.

“The talent, exhibitors and partners involved in this year’s BC Home + Garden Show have demonstrated a strong interest in establishing connections to both our surrounding natural environments, and our local community networks,” said Kivett. “The idea behind Better Gnomes & Gardens, and our partnership with Sole Food Street Farms, was to bring the importance of community involvement and local food production front of mind, where it belongs.”

Seeing a major lack of significant food production farms within the city, the creators behind Sole Food Street Farms saw and jumped at the opportunity to bridge the existing gap between the Vancouver’s urban residents and their natural-world food sources. Utilizing employment opportunities as a tactic for outreach, Sole Food works to build meaningful relationships with its employees while working simultaneously to provide model education opportunities in local agricultural production.

“Having some of Vancouver’s biggest names come together to support the work that Sole Food Street Farms is doing is absolutely amazing,” said Michael Ableman, director and co-founder of Sole Food Street Farms. “We strongly believe that healthy food systems foster healthy communities. The funds raised from the Better Gnomes & Gardens feature will be essential in establishing key connections between land stewardship and community well-being, all while nurturing the human spirit through involvement in supportive community initiatives.”

Better Gnomes & Gardens will be open for bids from Wednesday, February 19 at 4PMuntil Sunday, February 23 at 5PM, on the concourse level of BC Place Stadium.

About the BC Home + Garden Show: The BC Home + Garden Show has been a staple in consumers’ calendars since 1971, attracting more than 56,000 qualified visitors every spring. Produced by Marketplace Events, the show features high-interest exhibits, high-profile industry personalities and the latest home and lifestyle trends. Marketplace Events produces 34 home shows in 21 markets that collectively attract 1.5 million attendees and another 1.7 million unique web visitors annually.

About Sole Food Street Farms: With the mission to empower and employ underprivileged individuals, Sole Food Street Farms is dedicated to providing jobs, agricultural training and inclusion in a supportive community of food farmers and food lovers by converting vacant lots into fruitful farming plots. Through the targeted transformation of unoccupied urban lots, Sole Food creates ‘street farms’ that cultivate a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables of high, artisanal quality. Produce grown from the farms is washed, cooled, and consolidated at a central location, then sold to restaurants, at farmers markets and distributed to community organizations.

Working under the guidance of farmer and author Michael Ableman, individuals are trained to install and manage small production farms on leased urban lots. Sole Food now includes a network of farms throughout the city that are providing meaningful employment to 25 individuals who are dealing with drug addiction and mental illness. The farms are supplying fresh food to city residents, and presenting a successful and credible model of high quality, innovative agriculture within the urban context.


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