Though not our first thought when Toronto is mentioned, our city actually has a perfect climate for growing food. Just because we are in an urban setting, doesn't mean we cannot have a green city. There are so many nooks and crannies in Toronto's homes, apartments, buildings, sidewalks, and parks that can be utilized to grow food. Good food at that.
The windowsill garden project was an idea we came up with during the spring lockdown when food access became more pronounced than ever before. 1 in 8 homes in Toronto are food insecure. Paul Taylor from Foodshare has recently announced that 5.5 million Canadians are living with food insecurity and projections show that this number is likely going to keep going up.
As a Local Guide for Fjallraven, the outdoor clothing and equipment company, and a Recipe Developer and Nutritionist for Fresh City Farms, I was delighted when both companies were excited to bring this Windowsill Garden vision to light. It makes complete sense since sustainability is the driving force of both Fjallraven and Fresh City Farms.
Growing a garden in a not-so-typical space right in the centre of downtown Toronto is our way to show that a greener city, corner by corner, can change the look of our city. Everything harvested from this project goes straight to the Neighbourhood Food Hub to provide more food to people who do not have access to fresh produce.
More About the Project:
Our Fresh City farm team at our Downsview Farm built us custom planters to fit very specific window measurements and they began growing seedlings in late August. We chose hardy winter greens that would survive more drastic winter temperatures.
The seedlings you see in the photo below are bok choy, green kale, rainbow Swiss chard, and rosemary.
We had a team of farmers, local guides, and store employees help put the entire garden together in one day. It was a magical experience to be able to transform an outdoor clothing store into a micro-farm. We all could feel it and had a blast doing it.
One of Fjallraven's Local Guides, Chef Desh, even stayed up late the night before to make fresh sourdough loaves and croissants just for the event. We had a chance to film the entire process and are very excited to share the video and behind the scenes fun, so stay tuned for that.
For now, you can take a stroll by the Fjallraven storefront located on the north side of Queen just east of Spadina to see how our garden is doing. Our first harvest is likely going to be in late January, and we cannot wait to share the greens with our friends at Neighbourhood Food Hub.
Photo, from top to bottom by Jenn Yee (first two), Desh Fernando, Jeremy Stojan and Jenn Yee
Check out the harvest! Our little urban garden located in the windowsill of the Queen Street and Spadina Fjällräven store, has been growing beautifully.
We have successfully harvested 5 heads of romaine lettuce, 2 bunches of young kale, and 6 bunches of rainbow chard! Our produce will continue to grow alongside new herbs that have been planted. We can't wait for the next harvest!