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New Urban Farm Opens at the Heart of Suburbia to Bring Local Food to Market

Sep 23, 2009

On September 27th, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) and FarmStart will hold a Grand Opening Celebration of the McVean Farm, in Brampton, Ontario. The farm consists of 37 acres of historical agricultural TRCA property leased to FarmStart to give up-and-coming farmers access to land, equipment, infrastructure and to support ecological food production during the first years of their farm business start-up. The Grand Opening marks the official ground breaking and opening of the farm to the public.   Everyone is welcome to visit the McVean Farm and meet the 13 new farmers, from diverse backgrounds and communities across the GTA, who are digging in and starting innovative farm businesses.  McVean farmers' produce can be purchased at the farm, local farmers markets, and restaurants in the area.

"Our farming communities are aging and our farm landscapes are changing as urban areas expand.  At FarmStart, we believe that if we want to have a local and safe food supply in the future we need to support and encourage new farmers today to overcome the many structural, economic and practical challenges they face," said Christie Young, Director, FarmStart. "The McVean Farm Incubator helps to support new young and new-Canadian farmers get into farming without having to make the often daunting leap of moving their families and setting up a farm. The farmers at McVean can get first their businesses established in a supportive and well equipped farm facility, so when they leave to their own farms they will be more likely to succeed.  The farm also allows these farmers to farm much closer to their homes and their markets. We have discovered that the demand for this kind of near urban farm facility is huge - last year we started with four farmers, this year we have 13 new farmers on the ground and we have a waiting list for next year."   

"We've all heard of the 100 mile diet, but what this farm does is to bring local food production even closer than ever before- right here in GTA," said Gary Wilkins, Humber Watershed Specialist and manager of near urban agriculture initiatives at TRCA. "Near urban agriculture is at the heart of a sustainable community which is an important part of the TRCA's vision of The Living City. The farmers here are learning best practices in growing organic produce, while reducing their ecological footprint. This farm is good for community economic development, by launching new careers; good for residents who will now have a secure source of local food and good for the environment, where we are ensuring that sustainable farming practices are being followed. It's a win-win situation."

WHEN: Sunday, September 27 2009
           1:00 - 4:00 PM
           Ground Breaking Celebration at 2:30 pm

WHAT: McVean Farm Grand Opening: Visit McVean Farm to get to know the people working the land. Guided Farm tours every 30 minutes; enjoy harvest appetizers and drinks  prepared by FarmStart farmers and chefs from The Food School, featuring McVean Farm's unique and fresh world produce, kids activities and face painting, tractor rides, farm market and live music. Free. Suggested donations of $10, all proceeds go to FarmStart. Parking is available on the Farm or at the Claireville Conservation Area with free shuttle service

WHO: Vicky Dhillon, Councillor for the City of Brampton (Wards 9 and 10); Christie Young, Director, FarmStart; Toronto and Region Conservation; Terry Quinn, Ontario Trillium Foundation and farmers from The Cutting Veg, Matchbox Garden & Seed Co., The Fresh Veggies, Southern Horizons, Chengying Dong, Luis Canora, and the African Food Basket

WHERE: McVean Farm, 1Km North of Hwy 7 on McVean Drive (West Side), Brampton, Ontario

 

About FarmStart
FarmStart is a not-for-profit organization working toward increasing the presence of young and new farmers, operating their own farm enterprises, within the agriculture community. FarmStart supports and encourages a new generation of farmers to develop economically viable, ecologically sound and locally oriented agricultural enterprises. For more information go to www.farmstart.ca

About TRCA
With over 50 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look after the natural environment.  Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity.  For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at www.trca.on.ca

For media information:
Rowena Calpito, Supervisor, Media Management, Toronto and Region Conservation  
T: 416.661.6600 ext 5632; C: 416-358-3446 E: rcalpito@trca.on.ca

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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856
media@trca.on.ca

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