#WhyIfarm - Meet Jessey
Happy #WhyIFarm Wednesday! I'm Jessey, a Fresh City member farmer and owner of Zawadi Farm!
My farm is currently on its 3rd growing season, operating on over 8,500 square feet of urban space across backyards in Toronto and at Downsview Park. We initially started as a farm that simply wanted to grow food for the farmers market without fully understanding the scope of the food landscape within our city. After two season and countless lessons on how food isn't accessible to everyone in our city, Zawadi Farm decided to change the way we navigate food access.
Powered by our 50 weekly CSA members, we are testing mechanisms that allow us to subsidize produce for our community. The CSA members are aware of our goals and we work closely with our low-income community to make sure that our growth, is very much part of theirs too. One practice we've started with our members is that if a CSA member isn't available to pick up their box, they have an option to donate to a friend or family, or donate it to our community (so far we've had a 100% participation). Zawadi Farm also partners with FoodShare Toronto Toronto, which purchases from Zawadi Farm for their Good Food Market program. Another initiative we have is opening our farm and having the community come and harvest our excess produce at no cost at all.
As land is very vital and difficult to have access to, we are fortunate to have more backyards offered to us, we recently just got two more additional growing spaces. As member farmers at Fresh City Farms, we have 3,500 square feet of growing space at Downsview Park. This relationship adds to our crop plan, we also have the amazing opportunity to learn from the best in the field.
Our method is unorthodox yes, we don't have an answer to food insecurity, yet! - we know it is a much much bigger conversation, but we are working diligently to find an answer. Food in Toronto and our surrounding cities is a basic right to all!
We farm in the city, not only to put a face to the food, but also to highlight the practices behind it, and feel the love that goes into the land and into the produce.