Changing the lens

At Zawadi Farm, we believe food grown by local farmers can play a vital role in our community and the current food system.

If you go beyond price point, past the bargains and coupon offers, using the lens of nutrient content, specifically with fresh vegetables, you will start to see the gaps that exist in the system.

Gaps that are significantly large enough to cause concern such as vitamin depletion in conventionally grown common grocery store items like garlic, potatoes and carrots coupled with loss of flavor and the amount of varied pesticide residue found. Food is being reduced to a mere commodity like any other and people to simple consumers.

This is in part the result of intense efforts to standardize, mechanize and scale up production with the goal of extending shelf life and increasing profits.

The purpose of us acquiring and utilizing urban growing spaces is to engage in this conversation from a grower’s standpoint but also as members of a community.

The gaps, as we are discovering, are bigger than one plug, than a single solution can fix. There is no magic bullet. Our current food system is extremely complex and spiraling out of control.

Nonetheless, we’ve found some simple efforts are working and we are pushing harder now to test their resilience.

We are three years into our intensive urban farming and are currently focusing on soil management and the growth, harvesting and delivery of fresh, nutritious produce.

Using the Community Supported Agriculture model (CSA) our produce is delivered to, or picked up by, our farmshare members, who’ve pre-purchased weekly or bi-weekly shares during our 24 weeks of production.

For over two years now, this model has continually enabled us to engage with our low-income community.

Each month, we are able to bring a local market right into the lobby of a Toronto Community Housing building, which is located next to our farm. All year round, we bring produce to those who cannot access, or who have great difficulty travelling to buy fresh groceries. We also provide international fruits and vegetables through a partnership with FoodShare Toronto.

During the growing season, our farmshare members allow us to subsidize the farm produce cost that we sell through this avenue.

Nutrient rich, freshly harvested, locally grown and locally distributed.

This is our goal, this is our journey. We cannot move forward in isolation from our community.