Made in Toronto
By: Luke Dinan Sometimes I forget that what I do is not normal. Kneeling in the dirt, cupping seedlings in my hand or arched in the sun, pulling weeds. I work a full time job, as well as farming as a member farmer for Fresh City, and so I end up working there mostly in the evening or on the weekend. In the summer, the view of the sunsets from the farm were enough to keep anyone coming back. As the season grew longer, and the daylight got shorter, the benefits of this lifestyle choice only multiplied. I'll take this opportunity to let you know that anyone who has ever told you that the experience of returning to their plants late in the season and finding the harvest ready to pick wasn't rocked by a flush of joy and pride, was lying straight through their teeth. Whether it is edible flowers and herbs from your garden, or a small backyard plot sewed with salad veggies, or if you're like myself and the others who practice urban organic farming, it's a whole host of goodness from corn to carrots – when the fruit of your labour is ready to be eaten, there is an unmistakable sweetness to the taste. A sweetness that suggests you may never eat another store bought tomato or snow pea again. Of course, it is well known that fresher food tastes better – though, to have never tasted a vegetable grown from the skin of one's own hand, is to deny a dining experience incomparable to any other – undeniably, the only close second is to dine on the vegetables grown by organic produce providers at your local Toronto Farmer's Market. The good news – there is more information on local eating available now than ever before, more people involved, more people interested in wanting to know where there food comes from than there has ever been, and so getting started in changing your lifestyle is much less intimidating than it may have been in the past. Resources such as Mother Earth News are an excellent source of stories and how-to articles on a variety of topics surrounding making more sustainable lifestyle choices. There are also farmers markets all over the city, at different times and on various days. You can get more information and schedules from the Toronto Farmer's Market Network. Toronto has a thriving natural foods community, and the more people that become involved in the community, the stronger it gets. Making small changes to every day activities, such as planning dinner that morning using ingredients you buy that day at a farmer's market, or purchasing your week's produce from a local organic produce provider in a weekly basket delivery, help to support a part of our local culture that we can not afford to let perish. Check out www.tfmn.ca/ and http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/torontofarmersmarkets/ for more information on Farmer's Markets and how you can help support them.