Community Resilience

Funding level: $50,000 to $100,000


FoodShare’s School Grown, a schoolyard farming project, grows vegetables and fruits on school rooftops and lawns - providing students with paid jobs and school credit. With urban farming, School Grown is closing the loop on food literacy from how young people eat, grow and learn.

Getting students involved in seeding, weeding, harvesting and running their own markets is vital for nurturing deep bonds between youth and food. Reading a textbook is fine, but little compares to getting soil on your hands and the first harvest of the season.

. Our current flagship school site is slated to close in Fall 2018. We will be losing our largest and most productive farm field.

This presents us with a great opportunity to meet our longstanding vision of establishing a much larger farm site and meet the growing demand for a destination site that could train other schools, community partners and students in how to run productive schoolyard farms and market gardens We want to turn 2 acres of lawn into a productive urban farm - engaging youth in the design, build, and maintenance of market gardens, perennial plantings, cut flower production, and on-site compost. We use organic methods that are pollinator and soil friendly. This farm will increase the capacity of the space to retain water and capture carbon, creating an eco-friendly vegetable production space capable of yielding 20,000 lb of harvest each year, and generating $50,000 in farm revenue to help sustain the cost of our programs.

We are excited to build on our success managing a network of small school farm spaces to growing on 2 full acres of production. We will be the largest school farm in Toronto, one of the biggest in Canada! We have a proven track record of success over the past five seasons - we’ve tripled the number of youth we employ each year, increased our total lbs harvested from 2,000 to 10,000 annually, and revenue generated from farm sales has grown to $25,000 this year. This new larger farm space will allow us to do cut flower production, plant more pollinator and soil-friendly perennial crops, and have room for storage crops (like squash and potatoes) that we do not currently have the space to grow.

"Working with FoodShare helped me push past self doubt and learn that real leaders have to support people to be cooperative. I've had the pleasure of working with handfuls of people during my time with FoodShare and that chance helped me see that teamwork creates a happy and functional workplace." - Jordan, one of our School Grown growers.

All of our farm work is curriculum-connected and student-centred. We have alternative credit attainment options so youth can receive school credit and paid jobs at the same time. Food Justice is at the heart of our work - we incorporate workshops and cooking classes weekly. We inspire youth to take action on environmental and food justice issues in their own community - they have joined community gardens in their neighbourhood, started their own balcony growing spaces, and one started a collective community compost system for their building. Youth report caring more about food and farming once they complete a summer at School Grown - and most reapply for our Year 2 Leadership component.

Some of the students that I referred to the program are students who had multiple struggles and had not had an easy time and just the way that [Foodshare] embraced the students and the possibilities that were open for them- amazing. There is no therapy that could do as much as that garden did for several of those kids. ~ Natasha, Social Worker, Bendale BTI

Broker supported


Location: Toronto