We’ve formed partnerships with amazing farmers and artisans.

Ada

AdaAs a seven year old my job was to bring a large cup of tall dark coffee to my gardening grandfather. I used to admire how much taller and darker than me he was, standing there, smiling down at me for being so helpful. He would give me a delicious ripe tomato to munch on. I wanted to be just like him. Farming has run through the blood of my ancestors for many generations, so in a way I am simply indulging the calling. After travelling through Central America and helping on various permaculture farms, I have realized that happiness comes from helping others produce their own fresh food and sharing the bounty. This is my second season at Fresh City and this year I am teaming up with Micah; we are farming a quarter acre and will be selling our produce at Sorauren Market.

Arlene

ArleneI am passionate about growing, sharing and enjoying food. My love of food has lead me to work on farms, in greenhouses and in kitchens throughout Canada. Currently I divide my time between my plot at Fresh City Farms and Ryerson University where I manage 1/4 acre rooftop farm. Previous to my work in Toronto, I was involved in several urban agriculture projects in Montreal including Concordia University's Rooftop Greenhouse, Alternatives Rooftop Garden Project and City Farm School. I have a bachelor of Political Science and Human Geography from Concordia University and I am a 2012 graduate of the Linnaea Farm Ecological Garden Design Program on Cortes Island, BC where I earned a certificate in Permaculture Design. As an avid enthusiast of urban permaculture, I am always looking to share and trade ideas within the community to find new and innovative techniques for growing food, re-purposing materials and incorporating local resources into the food cycle. Prior working with food, I worked as a tree planter and landscaper for eight years where I developed a strong work ethic and a love for working outdoors. Entering my sixth season of growing food, I am excited to have the opportunity to direct my energy to building capacity for urban farming and food security here in Toronto.

Carol & Laura www.echo-muse.ca

Carol & LauraWe are farming a 2,000 square foot plot called Echomuse Farms where we're growing lots of leafy greens and salad fixings. We plan on sharing it with family and friends, giving it to shelters, selling at the Fairmount Park Farmers' Market, and of course, eating it ourselves! We both have extensive backgrounds in sales and marketing. This summer our goal is to take our weekend gardening hobby to the next level. Fresh City has given us the land, resources and support from experienced urban farmers to help make this goal a reality. We're excited to bring our harvest to you! Our motto is, "what's ours is yours." Connect with us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/echomusetoronto

Carrie

CarrieI'm a first year member farmer, sustainably growing 1,000 square feet of mixed vegetables and herbs for my family and community through Fresh City (and another small plot on my Uncle's horse farm in Hockley Valley). My produce will be available at the Fairmount Park Farmer's Market, Wednesdays starting June 18th (Coxwell and Upper Gerrard), or for pick up at the farm (Downsview Park @Keele and Shepard). I'm a former actor and music industry worker turned 'agie' for so many reasons, boldly going forward into my third year urban farming, having recently completed my certificate with distinction in Sustainable Urban Agriculture (University of Guelph), always treading as lightly as possible. Spreading seed, making life happen and educating the community, alongside my fellow Fresh City Farmers.

Dan http://lionheartfarm.tumblr.com

DanI grew up on an acre of prairie in rural Manitoba, from which my parents coaxed enough vegetables and fruit to feed themselves and five children. What we didn't eat fresh, my parents preserved, so I learned a lot back then. I got an engineering degree and moved away, currently working in the automotive industry. But I realized that growing food was what I needed to do! I planted a backyard vegetable garden and began taking farm courses; and last year I finally started "Lionheart Farm" at Fresh City in Downsview, which is close to where I live, and provided everything I needed to get started farming! In a few years I hope to have the knowledge and experience to expand significantly, and make farming my full-time career and livelihood. My farm business is "Lionheart Farm", I've got 1000 sq. ft. and I'm growing a large variety of vegetables with some emphasis on unusual varieties, colours and shapes. I'm selling at Bloor-Borden Farmer's Market (Wednesdays 3-7pm in Lippincott Green P parking lot in Toronto, June 4 - Oct 22) and intending to preserve any excess - perhaps also to sell at market! Follow me on Twitter @LionheartFarm for farm updates, produce info, recipe ideas, pictures, etc!

Enzo

EnzoThis is my first season as a member farmer - I'm mostly growing tomatoes and hot peppers, root veggies and other miscellaneous odds and ends on my 2,000 square foot plot. Most of what I grow will be consumed or preserved, with the extras being shared amongst other member farmers or possibly sold. I come from a European background, and have a passion for hands on work, gardening, electronics, mechanics, equipment, tools, etc etc. I have limited experience and background in gardening. I started at Fresh City as a volunteer, and when opportunity knocked for growing space I couldn't resist and had to jump on it and get my hands dirty!!

Hannah

HannahI am the Farm Manager at Fresh City. I grew up in rural Nova Scotia and spent most of my childhood in rubber boots. After finishing my undergrad in International Development Studies, I turned my focus to agriculture and since then, I've worked on farms in Italy, Croatia, New Brunswick and British Columbia. My desire to take a break from rural life and to farm within the energy and community of an urban setting brought me to Fresh City. I'm excited to be growing food for so many Toronto tables and to share my excitement with everyone who comes to the farm!

Helane http://farmster.weebly.com/

HelaneIt's my first year being a member farmer (and first year ever growing anything really). I grew up under deep Chinese cultural influence, I plan to grow a mix of western and asian crops with the main purpose of supporting my own consumption, as well as an experimental step to move forward with my off-grid sustainable living dream. On my 1,000 square foot plot, I'll be growing beets, carrots, winter & summer squashes, hopi blue corn, edamame, adzuki beans, gai lan, choy sum, broccoli, daikon, parsnips, tomatoes, and sesame (probably a few more random ones). Lots going on, and if lucky, I might be selling excess at the farm!

Ian

IanIf all goes well, I'll be growing tomatoes, herbs, carrots, cucumbers, beets, kale and watermelon on 'Sylvie's Garden', my 1,000 square foot plot at Fresh City. I'll be using it to make sauce, and pesto, and eating it and sharing it! I come from a colourful background consisting of self employment, manual labour and suit and tie corporate gigs. I've done it all! I volunteered with Fresh City for the past year in the warehouse (croissants kept me coming back) and completed the internship. I'm interested in learning how to farm outdoors and indoors to develop the skills for a project I'm currently working on.

Jessica sweetgalegardens.blogspot.ca

JessicaI grew up in the Upstate New York countryside. After finishing my Bachelors in Environmental Studies and English Literature, in addition to a Masters of Landscape Architecture, I moved to Toronto. In the past, I worked at Shamrock Hill Farms, Berkshire Botanical Gardens, and various university greenhouses. It was my love of all things green and growing that brought me to Fresh City. This growing season, in addition to my role as Assistant Farm Manager, I'm continuing to grow my business, Sweet Gale Gardens. Sweet Gale Gardens is a small fresh cut flower farm at Fresh City in Downsview Park. When I'm not at the farm, you can find me teaching yoga, hiking, cooking or traveling.

Jonah http://www.livingearthfarm.ca/

JonahI was born in Toronto with no exposure to farming, similar to most kids who grow up in a large metropolis. As a child, I thought food came from the grocery store, not the soil. This soon changed when I experienced my first truly fresh tomato from my father’s garden. The flavour, texture, colour and smell was beyond anything I had experienced from grocery store produce. This modest experience planted a seed in my mind that would change my life. When I was 14, I planted my first vegetable garden in my parent’s backyard. After trying my own fresh vegetables, I was hooked; I caught the farming bug. Every year after, my vegetable garden grew larger and larger until there was no more space left. By then, I was just finishing my undergraduate degree in business management and was looking to start a career. At this point I didn’t strongly consider farming as a viable career option, as my perception of farming was owning 200 acres of corn and machinery bigger than my house. But soon after graduating, I saw a unique opportunity to farm in Toronto with Fresh City, and jumped on board as a member farmer for the 2013 season. When I met the Fresh City crew and other member farmers, I knew I was in the right place and felt a strong sense of community among the farmers. We would support each other by exchanging knowledge and guidance, co-ordinating supply purchases and watering schedules, and giving a helping hand to each other when needed. Being a member farmer allowed me to test my ability to run all aspects of a farming business including growing produce on a larger scale, marketing the produce, keeping track of a variety of statistics and creating relationships with suppliers and customers. While my undergraduate degree doesn't directly relate to farming, it has helped immensely in creating a viable business model for my new farm enterprise, Living Earth Farm, which I launched this fall. Living Earth Farm specializes in year-round sprout and microgreen production. In addition to sprouts and microgreens, Living Earth Farm produces a wide selection of fruits and vegetables during the growing season including unique crops such as ground cherries, saskatoon berries and jerusalem artichokes. The farm uses organic growing practices and promotes biodiversity in the crops grown and surrounding ecosystems.

Kat

KatI'm in my fourth growing season and first season as a member farmer at Fresh City. I’m growing a variety of veggies in my 1,000 square foot plot, Lady Gaia and will be selling baskets of produce to family and friends. I’ve been drawn to this work for the ways in which it helps me connect more deeply to the food I eat, to myself, community, wellness and the cycles and rhythms in nature, reminding me that I’m part of a much larger system. Born and raised in Brampton, I didn't have much of a connection to growing food. I began reflecting on food systems while living in Carriacou, Grenada, W.I., exploring food and its relationship to people, place, culture. I started gardening when I returned which led me to coordinating and growing with The Cutting Veg Organic Farm for two seasons. Last season I worked at Everdale Farm in Hillsburgh, developing an educational and production garden. On the off-seasons I worked towards completing an M.Ed in Adult Ed & Community Development and a yoga teacher training program. This year when I’m not farming my plot, I’m working on a Green Belt funded local food project at Sick Kids and facilitating farm/yoga field trips to Everdale farm.

Kathy Horne

Kathy HorneThis is my first year as a Member Farmer at Fresh City. My lifelong love of gardening started as a kid growing up on an acreage west of Calgary, helping to plant and harvest the family veggie plot. The memories of the smell of the earth and the fresh taste of the vegetables never left me and finally became strong enough about 30 years later to make me leave a career in investment banking and get back outside. I have a particular passion for growing unusual varieties of vegetables, looking to produce food I can’t find in a grocery store. In my 2,000 square-foot plot (“Birdsong Gardens”) I have about 20 different varieties of tomatoes and about 200 Padron pepper plants. I’m also growing vegetables for ethnic communities in Toronto, including long eggplant, okra, squash blossoms, tomatillo, Korean mint, Daikon radish and Tulasi (Sacred Basil). I like to follow the principles of companion gardening in my plot and interplant vegetables with herbs and flowers, all edible. I am growing these beautiful healthy veggies for myself, for friends and neighbours, for the Sorauren Farmers’ Market (Mondays, 3 - 7), and for a Spanish tapas restaurant in Toronto. I’m grateful for the facilities and more importantly for the support and knowledge of the staff and other member farmers at Fresh City for this try at dipping my toe in the world of farming. The world is a complicated place, but no one goes wrong eating more vegetables.

Meagan

MeaganMeagan Gartlan is a Registered Massage Therapist and an Artist. Before Meagan started her career in Massage she planted trees seasonally in remote areas of Canada for 9 years. Living in the city full time now, Meagan has joined Fresh City to keep that familiar feeling of working outside and staying a little more connected to the earth. Learning how to productively grow food for herself and her community has always been a goal which she hopes to achieve over this coming growing season!

Mélisanne ufeedprogram.wordpress.com

MélisanneMélisanne has a Masters degree in Environmental Studies from York University. She specializes in environmental education and urban gardening. She is now putting her research into action through U FEED, a collaborative learning program for newcomers to urban farming. Mélisanne’s involvement in urban agriculture started during her studies in biology in Montreal. She volunteered with The Rooftop Garden project and learnt how to grow organic food in gardening containers. She moved to Toronto to take part in the city’s vibrant urban agriculture movement. She works at Fresh City as a Senior Member Farmer, Assistant Farm Manager, and Canning Instructor. Gardening and farming are for Mélisanne a social endeavour. She believes in creative, community-driven solutions for improving the environment and living green.

Micah

MicahI grew up in the burbs of Toronto, with no significant exposure to farming. I got bit by the farming bug while attending the university of Guelph, where I studied environmental governance. When I had time off from school I would help out at the guelph centre for urban organic farming. I would go there to procrastinate, and when spending an afternoon cleaning off old can lids or hauling and spreading garbage bag fulls of manure or ploughing through a field of twitch grass with a wheel hoe was still was more appealing than actually doing my homework, I figured I should make the switch to farming. I was given a flyer for Fleming College's sustainable agriculture program, so i dropped out of guelph, volunteered at fresh city farms in the fall where the Fresh City crew showed me the ropes. Now I'm in school at fleming soaking up as much as I can before the farming season starts. I can't wait to get outside and onto the farm again!

Paula

PaulaI'm a first year member farmer growing a variety of veggies on my 1,000 square plot, 'Paula's Produce'. I'm growing lettuce, spinach, boy choy, rapini, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, peas, beans, cucumbers, carrots, leeks, green onions, beets, parsnips, swiss chard, kale, strawberries, and herbs! I am following a CSA model and selling produce to subscribers. I joined Fresh City because I believe the best tasting, healthiest food you can eat comes from the garden. I see great value in knowing where your food comes from, and making ecologically responsible food choices. As a member farmer at Fresh City I am excited to be contributing to a local food system and reconnecting people with their food. When I'm not at the farm I am pursuing my other passion, entomology. I can be found staring into a microscope identifying bugs as an insect taxonomist for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

Phil Collins http://restorativefarming.com/

Phil CollinsPhil is owner, and principal of HighRes Design and co-founder of Fresh City. He is excited to be raising awareness of the benefits of organic city farming at a community level, and believes that sustainability is an ideal that society needs to embrace as an infinite goal. He holds a bachelor of landscape architecture from The University of Guelph, and is a fully licensed member of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects, and Canadian Society of Landscape Architects.

Steph Blumish

Steph BlumishI am an urban beekeeper in Toronto who has wholeheartedly become inspired by the bees. The three years I have spent working with the bees have motivated me to make better decisions about what I eat and where it comes from, and to inspire others to do the same. After three seasons of growing a small scale home garden, I am now growing on 1,000 square feet with Fresh City in my first year as a member farmer. I look forward to harvesting sweet corn, popping corn, cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, spaghetti squash, cucumbers, watermelon, carrots, green beans, kale, spinach, arugula, white pumpkins, tobacco, sunflowers, many herbs, and a sea of pollinator friendly flowers. The goal of this season is to consume and preserve as much as possible by canning, pickling, freezing and drying - important steps in moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle.