City to Country: Towards Symbiosis
October 4th, 2011 Recently I had the opportunity to participate in City to Country , an inspiring and engaging day-long event comprised of twelve bus tours that explored the challenges and successes of twelve good food ideas (initially presented Menu 2020: Ten Good Food Ideas for Ontario , commissioned by the Metcalf Foundation as part of their Food Solution series). I was astounded by the diversity and multi-dimensionality of the tours and wish I could have been in twelve places at once! I was part of the Urban Agriculture – From Rows to Rooftops tour, both as a participant and as a tour leader for Fresh City. Not Far From the Tree’s Laurel Atkinson and The Stop’s Liz Curran facilitated our tour as we visited Access Alliance’s new rooftop garden, the Oriole Community Garden, a secret backyard farm, Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard, city beekeepers, and Fresh City Farms. City to Country really got me thinking about the potential urban-rural as well as urban-urban food and farming relationships we had developed, and that we could develop. At Fresh City, we already combine city and country in our Fresh City box, by building a produce box combining produce grown in and around Toronto. We have also been building urban-to-urban relationships, buying produce from groups such as African Food Basket on a weekly basis. I think "City to Country" is at the heart urban agriculture for it promotes connection and fosters best practices; and, the reality is, neither could exist without the other! It wasn’t only the projects we got to visit that were inspiring; it was also the group of people on our bus. I had an incredible time talking to new folks, bonding over food and agriculture, and making some great new connections. I especially enjoyed FoodShare’s Focus on Food Interns for their enthusiasm and energy. Fresh City Farms is hoping to work with a couple of these interns in the next few weeks, which really goes to show that great connections were made via City to Country! It was a beautiful day, meticulously organized and perfectly executed. I doubt I’m the only one who walked away buzzing with positive energy and a million new ideas for change. From Fresh City to you, Abra Snider General Manager, Fresh City Farms Feeling inspired? Visit voteonfood.ca to learn about how you can affect change in the upcoming provincial election!