Project Outline – April 2013

“Warren’s Wall” is now reality. This unique vertical vegetable and fruit garden, built by My Arms Wide Open® (MAWO), will support the food program at Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre. Like its “sister food walls” in South Africa, Warren’s Wall will bring focus to community, food security and family. At the same time, it will provide a special learning opportunity for the children and youth at Ray-Cam to work side-by-side with the Centre’s seniors. Working in teams, the seniors, together with the children and youth under supervision, will plant, maintain and harvest the vertical garden. The Ray-Cam youth who have participated in and completed MAWO’s “Iziko Labahlali”Program will lead the teams in accordance with an established learning guide.
These are some of the vegetables you’ll see growing in Warren’s Wall. These 15 vegetables only need 4 hours a day of direct light. They’re perfect for planting in the shaded areas. We’ll leave the sun for the tomatoes!!
1. Kale
2. Scallions
3. Beets
4. Parsley
5. Spinach
6. Carrots
7. Cilantro
8. Turnips
9. Chard
10. Lettuce
11. Arugula
12. Garlic
13. Potatoes
14. Mustard Greens
The garden will create collaboration and a sense of ownership across the community – ownership by the children who will work in the garden; their families, as a result of their own children’s involvement; and other members of the Ray-Cam community who will not only benefit from the garden’s harvests but will take joy in watching it grow. The intention is to inspire other children and youth within the community to take similar steps and grow vertical food walls.
The garden is designed in an “S” shape and is approximately 23’ long x 7’2” at one end starting from 3’5” at the other end. This design allows younger children to tend to the lower part of the garden and older youth and seniors to maintain the higher areas. A 1’ high concrete footing supports the frame and individual steel ‘cages’ with divided slots.   Each slot will house a plant. There is room for 2,500 individual plants.
A portion of each harvest during the growing season will be canned or frozen to augment fall and winter food requirements.


There is a charitable component to this project. MAWO, with help from Ray-Cam, will secure a sponsor for each of the 2,500 plants for a basic annual donation of $60 a year, with a four year commitment. Additional sponsor levels are being developed. Each donor will also be credited with a plant in MAWO’s other vertical food walls in Bergnek and Cradock, two communities in Eastern Cape, South Africa. The gross proceeds from sponsorship will be split evenly between Ray-Cam and MAWO for ongoing support of the vertical food walls and to develop other community initiatives.
My Arms Wide open is a Canadian Registered Charity and can issue donation receipts for tax purposes.
Community collaboration is essential in a project like this. Without the financial support from the HRSDC (New Horizons Grant) and the City of Vancouver/Vancouver Foundation (Green Cities Grant), and without donated assistance from the following organizations, the food wall could not be completed: Strathcona 1890: Urban Seed Project, Twin Lions Contracting, UBC Civil Engineering, In-Form Engineering and Craig Yates, a young structural fabricator.

  • Addresses food security challenges by providing a sustainable fresh vegetable and fruit food source
  • Engages the community across generations
  • Supports the children and youth by engaging them directly in the projects
  • Transfers skills around vegetable and fruit growing, business skills and community engagement and capacity building
  • Creates a model and funding for community based enterprises built around food growing and harvesting
The welded, steel frame of the garden, ready for planting.