Posted on August 18, 2016 by Tia Lalani

Augustana Alumnus Ryan Mason (’09) will receive the Alumni Innovation Award on September 22, 2016

Mason, Ryan_ Sprague, Cathryn_2016 Alumni Innovation Award_Official Portrait_Credit John Ulan

Photo Credit: John Ulan

Another one of Augustana’s very own alumni, Ryan Mason, along with his business partner Cathryn Sprague, will be celebrated at the Annual Alumni Awards ceremony, receiving an Alumni Innovation Award for their contributions to urban agriculture and food sustainability. Last year was the very first year that the Innovation Award was given, and the committee looks at several applicants in order to recognize no more than three University of Alberta alumni who have significantly impacted their profession, community, the U of A, or society at large by developing an innovative program, process or product. Ryan and Cathryn seem to have checked off all four on this list, as they successfully began and continue to operate an urban sustainable farming business that grows and delivers fresh, delicious produce.

Home grown himself at Augustana, Ryan received his Bachelor of Arts in 2009 and went on to complete a Master of Science (’15) at North Campus. It was there, while doing graduate studies at the U of A’s Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, that he met Cathryn Sprague, BCom(’09), MSc(’14), as they both worked on master’s degrees in environmental sociology. With this shared passion for gardening and food security, Ryan and Cathryn decided to reclaim vacant urban land and use the space for growing food in an effort to improve the local food system. They studied intensive agriculture, invested in equipment and began this reclamation process. In May 2014, Reclaim Urban Farm was born.

070116IA-Reclaim13_Credit John Ulan

Photo Credit: John Ulan

Now, Ryan and Cathryn work 15 plots of land borrowed from community partners throughout the Edmonton region. They focus on growing nutritious food with the lowest environmental impact and on educating local communities on growth and sustainability. They plant every week year-round, including micro-greens indoors during the winter, and harvest on average 45 kilograms per week, easily doubling or tripling that during the summer months. Reclaim shares its produce with its partners and supplies the City Market Downtown, retail locations, several Edmonton restaurants and have recently opened a Community Supported Agriculture program wherein customers can order boxes of fresh vegetables (and sometimes fruit!) directly from their website. Reclaim has already sold out all of its shares for 2016 but be sure to check their website early in 2017 to join, or visit one of the markets or retail locations they deliver to in order to try out some delicious and sustainable “veg,” as they like to call it. Congratulations Ryan and Cathryn!

 

alumni award thumbnailAnnual Alumni Awards Ceremony:

Date: Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016

Location: Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium (11455 87 Ave), Edmonton, Alberta

Time: 7 p.m. – Ceremony with dessert reception to follow

Cost: Free, register for tickets at uab.ca/aw2016

Dress: Business attire

For more information, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 780-492-3224, toll free

1-800-661-2593 or alumni@ualberta.ca

 


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