Fresh City Downsview Farm - Call for Proposal

Fresh City has farmed for 11 growing seasons at Downsview Park. We have grown a lot of food and raised a lot of consciousness. But we always aspire to do more. With a long-term lease in place for a larger plot of land at the southern tip of Downsview Park, we are now trying to bring our vision of a "co-farming" space to life. Fresh City is seeking long-term partners to come farm alongside us and fight for food justice and sustainability. We will strongly prioritize building partnerships with people who experience systemic forms of marginalization.

Joining us!


About The Farm

The Farm is an 11-acre plot of land at the southern end of Downsview Park. There are about 5 acres that can be farmed.

The landlord of the Farm, the Canada Lands Company, held an Expression of Interest and then a Request for Proposals process in 2017 and 2018. As a result of this process, Fresh City was awarded the lease for up to 20 years on the basis of a co-working farm vision. Fresh City will be farming about 1.5 acres of this plot with the rest to be shared by our partners. 

The Farm will be: 

  • ● An inviting farm embedded in a national urban park 
  • ● A hub of learning about food justice and sustainability for people from all walks of life wherever they are on their food journey
  • ● A place where partners of the Farm can grow food, operate businesses and run programming to further food justice and sustainability  

Partnerships

Fresh City is seeking proposals from individuals, businesses, collectives, cooperatives, nonprofits and other organizations that are interested in having an on-site presence at the Farm.

There are two partnership streams.

1. Farming Stream

We are seeking long-term partnerships (5 years plus) with potential partners interested in farming up to 0.5 acres of land. The Farm will have basic farming infrastructure including water access, harvest processing area, dry storage, cold storage, greenhouse space and washrooms. Fresh City will be responsible for basic maintenance and infrastructure repairs.

Each partner will be responsible to pay its share of operating costs based on square footage farmed and which additional amenities they use (including cold storage and greenhouse space). Fresh City will not be profiting in any way from this. We estimate the monthly operating costs per 0.5 acre about $750 (for access to land, dry storage and harvest processing area) to $1,100 per month (for access to land, dry storage, harvest processing area, cold storage, greenhouse space and office space). ***Please do not let these estimated costs dissuade you or your group from applying. Fresh City is committed to ensuring that historically marginalized groups can farm alongside us and will do the best we can to help secure outside sources of funding for such groups.*** Water expense would be in addition to this and the cost will depend on whether we can successfully find underground well water or will need to rely on the municipal supply. 

Each partner will have to provide its own farming equipment, soil amendments, seeds and labour. Fresh City will provide full transparency as to the cost of operation to partners and is simply seeking cost recovery rather than generate any profit. Each partner can sell produce on the site through U-Pick, CSA pickup or a farmers market stand. An onsite farmers market for all partners is also possible in a format to be decided mutually between all the partners.

These partnerships are intended for those interested in growing and selling vegetables. Partners need to have a strong knowledge in growing (and perhaps even selling) produce. We will strongly prioritize applications from people who experience systemic forms of marginalization such as growers who are Black, Indigenous, and people of colour, those living on a fixed income, newcomers, LGBTQ2S+ folks, women, and those with disabilities. There will also be preference for partners whose work beneficially impacts these marginalized groups and the surrounding communities.

2. Social Impact Venture Stream

We are seeking partnerships with potential partners who are interested in setting up various businesses or installations that would be complimentary to the Farm vision but do not require farm land for their operation. 

These could include but are not limited to:

  • ● Public art installations
  • ● Demonstration projects for sustainable food production or processing
  • ● Beekeepers
  • ● Composting
  • ● Fitness / Yoga / Bootcamp with a farming focus
  • ● Farmers market operator 

We will strongly prioritize applications from people who experience systemic forms of marginalization such as growers who are Black, Indigenous, and people of colour, those living on a fixed income, newcomers, LGBTQ2S+ folks, women, and those with disabilities. There will also be preference for partners whose work beneficially impacts these marginalized groups and the surrounding communities. In particular, Fresh City will do everything in its power to ensure Indigenous representation at the Farm, including subsidizing operating costs and seeking outside funding.

All questions can be directed to Leticia Ama Deawuo farm.partners@freshcityfarms.com. 

Please fill out Application Form here

***Please do not let these estimated costs dissuade you or your group from applying. Fresh City is committed to ensuring that historically marginalized groups can farm alongside us and will do the best we can to help secure outside sources of funding for such groups.***


Application Process

1. Call for Proposals issued Friday, May 21, 2021
2. Application Form deadline on Sunday, June 20, 2021
3. Interviews with selected potential partners first week of July 2021
4. Selection of partnerships and signing of lease and MoU in August 2021 

Not everyone who wishes to become a partner at the Farm will be able to participate. Unfortunately, space is limited. Please note that each partner can be a team of 2 or more people working together. In this case, even if there is a team, there will still be one individual who is the primary contact person. 

The interview is also an important step in the selection process. The Steering Committee understands that perhaps English will not be the primary language of the applicant, and/or perhaps the applicant will not be very comfortable working on a computer, and/or that there could be other challenges applicants face in completing the Application Form. 

The Steering Committee may have difficult decisions to make, and some strong applications may not be accepted into the Community Farmer program because there is a limited amount of farm space available. Disappointed applicants should note that space may become available in future years.

We will be looking to see that you have created a clear, realistic, and informed plan. Thank you for your interest in the Fresh City Farm at Downsview Park.