Urban Agriculture

 

Growing Community and Skills Through Food

 

The Stop’s Green Barn at 601 Christie St. is a unique urban agriculture hub in Toronto. It offers a greenhouse, community gardens, a bake oven, a compost demonstration centre, and our year-round Farmers’ Market.

Growing plants, spending time with others in a safe and supportive environment, being active outdoors and bringing home healthy produce harvested from the garden can also contribute to positive mental health outcomes. We empower community members to come together, learn how to grow their own food, and spend time in nature in our growing spaces. 

 

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I meet nice people and share experiences with them. I can talk to people. Toronto is a big city and I feel alone sometimes. [Here] I’m involved with something and the garden is alive. You can bring some tomato, salad or callalloo home and they smell good and fresh and you’re proud of something. It’s life.

Community Gardens Program Participant

Community Gardens

Our greenhouse and sheltered garden provide year-round growing space and an inspiring environment for the community to learn and share agricultural knowledge. Staff, community members, and volunteers come together to run informative sessions about where food comes from, how to grow your own food, and the important role of food in communities while growing and planting seedlings.

We share hundreds of seedlings with community gardens across the city. Each year, we work toward providing seedlings to different growing groups across the city so that folks in those communities can care for the plants and each other. The food grown can then be re-distributed to their families and communities.

In our gardens, once the produce has grown and is ready to be harvested, the community members may take the produce home and the rest is used in our food bank and drop-in meal programs.

300

Over 300 community members reached and engaged

35

Participating community gardens across Toronto

4216

Total of seedlings we gave away in 2022

579 kg

Of produce harvested in our Global Roots Garden in 2022

 

Mashkikii;aki’ing Garden

We partner with the Sagatay program from Na-Me-Res (Native Men’s Residence) to animate the garden at Hillcrest Park, which includes the Mashkikii;aki’ing (Medicine Earth) Medicine Wheel Garden. This partnership provides the men of the Apaenmowineen (Having Confidence in Oneself) program the opportunity to share teachings and learn more about plant medicine, gardening, and healthy living. With this program, we aim to reduce social isolation and cultural dislocation by giving Indigenous individuals access to land and share traditional growing practices.

A regular Stop garden member from Sagatay, a transitional shelter for Aboriginal men, explained: “I find it tends to calm us down because it’s really bang on with what we used to do traditionally all the time.”

Mashkikii;aki’ing Participant

Earlscourt Garden

The Stop’s Earlscourt Community Garden is a bright oasis nestled in Earlscourt Park. Together, with members of community, we participate in all aspects of gardening, from design, setup, planting and harvesting to maintenance and winter closure. What we harvest is shared amongst the community participants and our various programs within The Stop. Earlscourt Garden is more than just growing nutritious food — it offers a break from the daily city grind and grows our community too.

 

 

If you were to ask me what one thing I love about the Earlscourt Garden in particular, it’s the opportunity to interact with and learn about best practices and plant properties from our wonderful band of volunteers who come from different parts of the world, from Turkey to Mexico, from China to Indigenous South America.”

Earlscourt Garden Participant

Global Roots Garden

In partnership with CultureLink, this intergenerational urban farming program at 601 Christie St. brings newcomer youth and seniors together to learn and practice gardening, growing food, environmental stewardship and healthy cooking.

The idea is simple: seniors are in charge of the gardens, young recruits do gardening work, and they share their wares and cultural knowledge amongst themselves before and after harvesting, also giving some produce to our other programs such as our food bank and drop-in.

All the herbs are good and whatever you get from your garden, you can’t get it any other place

Theresa, Global Roots Participant

Some people are very down, and when they’re coming for this program, they’re up

Hania, Global Roots Participant

Our Farmers’ Market

 

The Stop has been operating the Wychwood Barns Farmers’ Market at 601 Christie St. since 2009 as an initiative to create space and support for farmers, vendors, and artists who offer locally made, ecologically-conscious and ethical goods.

We believe that farmers’ markets play a critical role in food sovereignty where community members can use their dollars to directly support local farmers and vendors, shortening the gap between food consumers and producers while building connections with the people who grow, produce and prepare our food.

Our Farmers’ Market runs year-round every Saturday from 8am to 1pm. News, updates, and vendor highlights are shared on our Farmers’ Market Instagram and in our newsletter

For inquiries, please email farmersmarket@thestop.org.

We are now accepting applications for new vendors at our farmers’ market for the 2024/2025 season until March 1st, 2024. You can read vendor requirements, market information, and how to apply here.

50

Local farms and vendors at our weekly market

3,000

Weekly customers coming together

40%

Female-owned businesses