Urban spaces have enormous potential for agriculture. According to a recent article in the Toronto Star, “agritecture” or “rooftop agriculture” is an ever-increasingly important part of Toronto’s future.
Steven Peck, president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities notes that, ?Toronto is a leader in North America for green infrastructure � not only green roofs, but community gardens. This is about putting those two ideas together”. Last month, Toronto was recognized as North America�s second best city for building green roofs, with only Washington D.C. building faster.
So what do these spaces look like? Where can visitors go to see world-class “agritectural” innovation? We’ve put together a list of interesting agricultural spaces in Toronto (and beyond!) where you can see city and farm collide.
Here are a few of our favorite urban farms:
Rye�s HomeGrown (RHG)
Rye�s HomeGrown (RHG) is a project at Ryerson University that aims to build capacity for food security by producing fresh, wholesome food for the Ryerson community and providing interactive educational opportunities in urban agriculture. They have a number of production, learning and demonstration gardens throughout campus where workshops, tours and activities take place. These include a A? acre roof-top market garden that supplies Ryerson Eats campus kitchens and Ryerson�s weekly farmer�s market. Book a tour!
Black Creek Community Farm
BCCF is a seven-acre site located on conservation land in the heart of Jane-Finch community. The farm is a collaborative project with an aim to build community food security by growing fresh healthy food, and to re-imagine the urban food and farming landscape, providing a model for other cities around the world. Book a tour!
Fresh City Farms
Fresh City Farms operate Canada’s largest commercial city farm. At Downsview Park, they organically grow on six acres and in a greenhouse, which includes an aquaponics system. Book a tour, and have one of their farmers walk you through the day-to-day realities of farming organically, including; seedlings, weeding, watering, pest control, and harvesting. Book a tour!
Riverdale Farm, Toronto
Riverdale Farm is located in the heart of the downtown community of Cabbagetown. It’s free to visit, and features an historic working farm, scenic pathways, programs and seasonal events, and a collection of barnyard animals. Visit!
And don’t go forgetting the gardens!
The Royal Botanical Gardens
At 2,700 acres, Royal Botanical Gardens is the largest botanical garden in Canada and one of the largest in the world. Go for a hike through their extensive trails, or wander through one of their five main garden spaces, The Arboretum, Hendrie Park, Laking Garden, RBG Centre and the Rock Garden. Visit!
Evergreen Brickworks Children’s Garden
The Children’s Garden in Chimney Court is a dedicated space for young people to experience nature. Evergreen runs a variety of different programs there (most are free, and drop-in) such as Nature Play, The Burrow (science and the outdoors), and Hands in the Bowl (cooking and food literacy). Visit!
The High Park Children’s Garden
Planted by children, for children! The Children’s Garden is home to a butterfly garden, a ?fedge? (a hedge made from edible plants � a ?food hedge?), a naturalized hillside garden, and a variety of raised vegetable and herb beds shaped to spell out ABC. Visit!
Toronto Botanical Garden
TBG have a Kitchen Garden, which each year celebrates a different culture and cuisine from a particular country or geographical area by carefully planting combinations of vegetables and herbs common to the chosen area. You can also check out the Bee Hotel, a sustainable space for solitary pollinator bees. Visit!
Bonus : Venture Outside Toronto!
Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa
Did you know that Canada is the only country in the world with a working farm IN it’s national capital region? Open to the public throughout the year, the Central Experimental Farm is also home to the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. Visit!