I came into this season with all the intentions of starting big, guns blazing! I had all the ideas – but with the entrepreneurial ‘tech brain’ startup mentality. I didn’t know that this was the season in my life that my two worlds were about to collide.

After all the research I had done into urban farming, I started looking for about $40,000 startup funds to begin my operation. During this time, I continually volunteered at Fresh City Farms, under the guidance of their farm managers, my mentors Hannah and Julianne.

I had a rude awakening to lessons that quickly evolved to the way that I farm today.

My intentions were not small, many of my friends would tell you, I don’t think small, I think big, I mean massive, large, gigantic ideas – this mindset in many cases, had caused some stress.

Over and above starting an urban farm, I also wanted to start a farmers market of my own, in my own town, close by where I grew my produce.

The gift economy that exists within the farming community, met me at a stage where I couldn’t fully grasp its magnitude. For example, and this is just one of many – while meeting with a local Business Network International group, one of the members, who is the owner of the few privately owned farms in the city of Toronto. He asked me for coffee after and offered me 7,500sqf of growing space – for free! I mean, where do you ever see that?

Angas Farm gifted us, our first growing space in exchange for helping him around his property. No money exchanged, many lessons learnt and I will forever hold that man very dearly, like my own father. He, through a gift, launched Zawadi Farm.

– Zawadi is swahili for Gift –