COVER STORY: The Faces of Good Food By Lisa Borden

5 locals determined to help us save the bees, get dirty and eat well.

west_CoverIt can be overwhelming to think of how massive our world’s crises are. How can we, as individuals, even attempt to solve global issues like climate change, plastic pollution, and create a fair and healthy food system for all? Thinking of anything on a global scale, although important, often has us feel powerless in being able to affect serious change. But every action we take makes a difference, no matter how small we feel, especially when we add us all together.

In Toronto, we are surrounded by people, businesses, and organizations focused on solutions. They have so much to offer us in terms of inspiration and opportunity to do better for ourselves, for each other, and for our shared world. The five inspiring, passionate and determined individuals deeply rooted in our community, who are featured on this issue’s cover, are all working to better our food system, and are promoting critical thought in our community and beyond about healthy eating and a fair, clean food system for all. They are creating change, and offer services and products that are of tremendous and delicious value. I have had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to work with, buy from, donate to, and spend time with these local food heroes and I hope you will soon too.

Ran Goel, Fresh City Farms

What can Fresh City do for us?

When you order farm-fresh and organic meals and groceries online from Fresh City, we harvest and collect what you ordered and deliver to your door or a Pickup Hub. You eat healthy and support local farmers. Everyone wins.

What is one thing you would like us to do?

Cozy up to your “maker”. Think of yourself as an active agent in choosing what enters your mouth, not a passive recipient of what a supermarket, cafeteria or restaurant put in front of you. Respect those top six inches of topsoil like the anchor of civilization that they are. Turn every bite into not only an act of survival, but humanity.

Sabrina Malach, Shoresh Jewish Environmental Programs

Why does your work make you smile?

As Shoresh’s director of community engagement, my work is to get as many people as possible to say “wow” to nature and to life. I do this through Shoresh’s hands-on Jewish environmental programs, urban farming and spreading the good word about how amazing pollinators (bees, butterflies, flies, birds, etc.) are and why we need to take action to save them.

How can we be part of the “wow”?

Grab your family and friends, leave your screens at home and get outside. Wander around your neighbourhood and see how many things make you say “wow.” Plant a pollinator garden at home with wildflowers, support local beekeepers and local farmers whose practices are compatible with the broader ecosystem. And, come and play with Shoresh and meet our honey bees in the beautiful hills of Hillsburgh at Bela Farm.

Rachel Kimel + Deena DelZotto, Bowery Project

Turning vacant spaces into growing spaces makes so much sense, tell us more.

Bowery Project is a non-profit organization, building mobile urban farms as a temporary use in vacant lots in the city. We transform vacant urban lots into vibrant and productive growing spaces, engage and educate the community in farm experiences and environmental sustainability in the city and support the Farm-to-Table movement by providing locally grown food to restaurants, residents and community organizations. All produce on our farms are grown in re-purposed milk crates that sit above the land. A farm of up to 5,000 crates can be disassembled and relocated within 24 hours!

Can we help?

You can; we would love for you to get involved! Come visit one of our urban farms, volunteer at a build, join us to harvest, celebrate with us at a fundraiser or event. Know of a vacant space? Want to grow food in an unused space at your local school or community centre? Be in touch!

Chris Wong, Young Urban Farmers

Can we grow our own food year round in Toronto?

Absolutely. Young Urban Farmers is committed to helping you be successful in growing your own food, no matter the space you have. From indoor micro-gardens on your kitchen counter, to complete backyard edible gardens, we make urban gardening fun and simple, so you can enjoy local, organic food—your own farm to your table movement.

How can we start growing food, instead of lawns?

It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, but start today! Did you know that a mason jar can help you grow sprouts in as little as 3-5 days? We have portable growing boxes already planted, or can build raised beds for you. If you don’t have your own space, find a friend or neighbour with a sunny yard or join a community or allotment garden and grow there. We should all have our hands in growing our food—you’ll never look at dinner the same way again.

I encourage you to learn more about our local food heroes, and their organizations by visiting their websites, engaging with them on social media, and in real life. Support them, and let them support you, your health and happiness. As Wendell Berry said, “Eating is an agricultural act”, it is also an environmental and a political act—activism comes with every forkful you eat.

I work and live by the African Proverb, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.” We are all mosquitos, and together, all of our little actions add up and we can bring about the change we need. It starts at home, in our community.

HEAD SHOT - LISA BORDEN-111LISA BORDEN loves to shine a light on the good. Learn more about her highly passionate, hyper-focused, common-sense business development + marketing firm at

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