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Black Food Sovereignty Initiatives: Harvest Collective and Learning Circle

The Harvest Collective and the Learning Circle programs are Black Food Sovereignty initiatives at the Urban Farm. Launched in 2021, these programs aim to engage Black students, faculty, staff and the broader community through the sharing of food, from farm to table. On the Urban Farm rooftops, we grow a variety of crops and medicines that are culturally significant across the African diaspora.

Through this work, we are challenging the systemic racism that persists within contemporary food production, urban agricultural systems and within our institutions by developing opportunities for Black-centric programming, training and cultivation right here on campus.

An Urban Farm staff member harvests turnips on the ENG roof.

The Harvest Collective, a Black Food Sovereignty initiative at the Urban Farm, invites members of the Black Faculty & Staff Community Network at TMU to share in the harvest of culturally significant crops grown on the rooftop of the DCC. 

Harvest Collective sessions are held weekly on Wednesdays from July 12 through August 30, between 10:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. Following each Wednesday harvest, guests are welcome to bring their lunch and stay and enjoy the rooftop space as part of the DCC Summer Open Farm program!

Each week Harvest Collective participants will leave with a variety of freshly harvested, seasonal crops that are culturally significant across the African diaspora. The cost to participate in the Harvest Collective is only $10 per week! 

Dates and times

Harvest Collective sessions take place on Wednesdays between July 12 and August 30, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex (DCC), 8th floor, 288 Church St.


$10 per week.

Crops grown in a ring as part of the Learning Circle program.

The Learning Circle program offers a wide variety of experiential learning workshops aimed at engaging the Black community as we explore Black Food Sovereignty in action. 

Learning Circles are focused on knowledge mobilization around topics like Black food history, the contributions Black communities have made to food systems, food and climate justice and engagement through food production. Food literacy is also an important theme, with participants exploring the connections between nutrition and food, physical health and mental well-being, while also fostering a meaningful sense of belonging and community healing. 

Learning Circles are scheduled to take place the third Friday of each month from June to September. Participants are welcome to register for individual sessions, although return visitors are always welcome!  

Please note we prioritize participation for youth, students and community members of all ages who self-identify as Black (African, Caribbean and Black of African descent.) In addition, anyone who self-identifies as First Nations, Inuit or Métis are always welcome. In the event there are still spots available for an upcoming Learning Circle session, we welcome all community members who would appreciate learning more about Black Food Sovereignty and sustainable urban agriculture. 

Follow us on Instagram (external link)  to keep up-to-date on featured topics and guest facilitators for each monthly Learning Circle workshop.

Dates and times

Learning Circles run on the third Friday of each month from June to September, taking place from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.


Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex (DCC), 8th floor, 288 Church St.

The four pillars of the Harvest Collective and Learning Circle

More than a bag of food

We aim to engage the Black community through the multi-faceted lens of food, underpinned by four key pillars:

Food literacy

  • Access to nutritious food
  • Meal planning and food budgeting
  • Health, disease prevention and food as medicine

Food and social justice

  • Food policy advocacy
  • Representation in local food systems
  • Equity in accessing spaces
  • Confronting anti-Black racism

Environmental stewardship

  • Ecology
  • Environmental healing
  • Regenerative farming
  • Rooftop farming knowledge mobilization

Community healing

  • Inclusivity
  • Knowledge reclamation
  • Sense of belonging

Collaboration and requests

The Harvest Collective and Learning Circle welcomes requests to collaborate by both internal and external groups. We prioritize intentional and purposeful collaboration requests that are grounded in the 3Bs: Black-led, Black-mandated and Black-serving, however, anyone interested in this work is welcome to get in touch. 

If you have an idea or request that supports the goals of the Harvest Collective and Learning Circle, please contact Nicole Austin, Black-led programs coordinator for the Urban Farm, at You can also visit our tours page to book a tour of the Harvest Collective and Learning Circle