With more than 80 rooftop crops in production across two rooftop farms, the Urban Farm harvests approximately 2500 kilograms of fresh produce in a typical growing season.
How we grow
We farm using ecological methods that support the health and well-being of our surrounding ecosystem. Our produce is spray-free, meaning we do not use any pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. To maintain soil fertility, we use crop rotations, mulches, cover crops and green manures, and apply natural soil amendments, such as compost, compost tea and seaweed emulsion.
Why is ecological rooftop farming important?
Ecological rooftop farms play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change. Rooftop farms minimize the negative impacts of the urban, built environment by sequestering carbon, reducing the urban heat island, diverting stormwater, increasing biodiversity and supporting native pollinators. At the Urban Farm, we apply regenerative agricultural practices such as minimizing soil disturbance, keeping soil covered, maintaining living roots in the soil and growing a diverse range of crops, including wild plants.
Model of Thirds
To maximize the social impact of the harvest, the Urban Farm follows a model of thirds distribution plan. In this model, no less than one third is donated to the community, no more than one third is sold at market value, and one third is available at equitable rates for TMU students. This allows the harvest to be shared with as many members of the community as possible, while also generating revenue to sustain rooftop farm operations. This distribution system was developed by Urban Roots, external link in London, Ontario and was inspired by the Indigenous principles of reciprocity and honourable harvest.
How we distribute our produce
Donations are made available to the community through the Second Harvest Food Rescue App. Participating social service organizations can access produce directly through the app. To learn more about how to register, visit the Second Harvest Food Rescue App, external link.
Organizations that support the distribution of fresh produce from the Urban Farm have included the Student Union’s Good Food Centre, external link, Building Roots, external link, Native Women’s Resource Centre, external link, Community Fridges Toronto, external link, the Bike Brigade, external link and the X University Pow Wow.
Market priced sales
Community members can purchase seasonal produce from May to October through our Garden Grab Bags or at the weekly Farmers’ Market. The Urban Farm also supplies chefs at TMU Eats and the Oakham Café, external link, where you can find delicious dishes made with fresh rooftop ingredients.
Affordable rates for TMU students
Rooftop-grown produce is available at student-friendly pricing at all points of sale at the Urban Farm. May through October, students can purchase produce at student rates through our Garden Grab Bags and at the weekly Farmers’ Market. By offering equitable pricing for students, we aim to increase access to fresh produce and culturally significant crops grown through the Harvest Collective and Learning Circle and Indigenous Foodways programs at the Urban Farm.
Order a Garden Grab Bags
Available for pick up on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m., you can purchase a Garden Grab Bag throughout our growing season, harvested fresh from the farm, and make fresh, rooftop-grown produce a part of your next meal.
Visit our stand at the Farmers Market
From May to October, visit our stand at the weekly Farmers Market on Gould St. on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and take home fresh produce harvested on the day you purchase it!
The Urban Farm’s top ten crops
1,923 cucumbers. 1,212 eggplants. 999 bags of salad mix. 585 bunches of swiss chard. 485 summer squash. 478 bunches of carrots. 457 pints of sweet peppers. 456 pints of cherry tomatoes. 342 heirloom tomatoes. 327 bunches of radishes.