Carrot City Designing for Urban Agriculture

FoodShare's School Grown

Exhibit Category / Catégorie de l'expo: Community & Knowledge

Location/Emplacement: Toronto, ON, Canada
Dates: 2010 - present
Designers/Concepteurs: FoodShare
Clients: FoodShare

More Information/Plus d'informations: FoodShare's School Grown
Image Credits/Crédits d'images: Drawing courtesy of FoodShare. Photos by FoodShare, Joe Nasr and June Komisar.

Project Description: (version française ci-dessous)

Toronto-based FoodShare was founded over 30 years ago with the mission to provide access to healthy local food through the creation of a “resilient, just and sustainable food system.” One of their many programs is School Grown; a partnership with the Toronto District School Board, this initiative teaches students to grow, process and sell food. School Grown includes a job training component as students get paid summer jobs and school credits that count towards their high school diploma while working in the farms. FoodShare manages the gardens at Eastdale and Bendale and runs them as productive urban farms.


The Bendale BTI school garden program started in 2010 by transforming several portions of the schoolyard into gardens. With a large greenhouse and the willingness to experiment with aquaponics (indoors), the school has been a pioneer in integrating food production, farming and cooking into the curriculum. At the start, students sold vegetables in the neighbourhood from a stand on school grounds, but they now sell directly to restaurants at two farmers markets. Horticulture students harvest the crop and marketing students learn to sell by doing. This takes a lot of planning, from developing a crop plan, to staggering planting dates and choosing a variety of vegetables so the school farm would have a diversity of produce to sell every week throughout the season. The gardens are also designed to be attractive as this mini-farm is highly visible.


Located in a denser part of the city, the farm at Eastdale was established in 2013. On a well-built rooftop of 2000 m2, old tennis courts have been modified to support large modular planters. The design includes an event space that is surrounded by the vegetable, fruit and herb containers. Collapsible hinged planters using heat-treated lumber were built at the FoodShare workshop and transported to the rooftop where they were filled with a blown-in soil mix. The students gain valuable work experience in the markets where they sell produce that includes basil, peppers and a variety of tomatoes. Eastdale also has a Seed to Market course, a full semester urban agriculture course for students.

The School Grown program uses the gardens as a source of inspiration in the curriculum; garden work is connected to art, science, business, geography and horticulture courses. In addition, the students often complete their required volunteer hours in the garden space. Much of the produce goes directly into the school cafeteria programs. Vegetables and greens were sold to four restaurants in Toronto and at two full-season farmers’ markets, earning $17,000 from their market sales in 2014. Students are taught many aspects of food production, getting their hands dirty in the gardens and then learning how to cook, bake, and sell the produce.

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