November 2014: FarmStart is a proud recipient of a Regional Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence which recognizes the innovative contributions of producers, processors, agri-food organizations and rural communities in Ontario.
There are many urbanites and new Canadians excited to work Ontario’s soil. To foster this new generation of farmers, FarmStart was born. The Guelph-based organization runs dozens of workshops, tours and courses each year. It also gives would-be farmers tools and access to affordable land. To date, FarmStart’s two “incubator” farms – one in Brampton, the other in Hamilton – have served as a launching pad for 56 new farmers from 20 different countries of origin. Many go on to establish thriving farm businesses that create jobs, contribute to local economic development and breathe new life into Ontario’s rural communities.
Title: Demand grows for exotic veggies as nation’s palate changes
Publication: CBC News
Date: Oct 11, 2013
Excerpt: “We want to introduce these new crops to Toronto,” says Lololi, executive director of the Afri-Can FoodBasket, a community group whose activities include growing vegetables at the McVean startup farm site in nearby Brampton.
Earlier this year, Statistics Canada reported that of the country’s largest urban centres, the Toronto area had “by far” the largest share of foreign-born residents, a group representing 46 per cent of the population.
Title: FarmStart program offers education for new farmers
Publication: Orangevill Citizen
Date: August 22, 2013
Excerpt: Whether you have been out to experience some of the local farmers markets and thought to yourself that farming could be the job for you, or it’s an idea you’ve been sitting on for years, the FarmStart program can offer help.
“We exist to encourage new farmers,” says Rebecca Hodges, FarmStart training and resources program coordinator. “We’re living in a time where the actual number of farmers are declining. There is a lot of young people or new Canadians who are interested in getting into farming but it’s a confusing space.”
Title: New course coming to Kitchener helps people decide whether to get into the business of farming
Publication: Kitchener Post
Date: March 7, 2013
Excerpt: The program helps students explore what type of enterprise might be right for them, whether that’s a full farm or a market garden. “It’s not just one model or one way to farm. We try to show them that there’s lots of different ways that you could make a go of this,” said Koch.
Title: Moulding Dufferin’s farming acumen
Publication: Orangeville .com
Date: March 4, 2013
Excerpt: Although based in Guelph, FarmStart sees the need to branch out. While hosting several sessions and farm tours throughout the last few years, Watkins said FarmStart met several people from the Orangeville area interested in farming starts.
Title: A unique twist on the CSA
Publication: Small Farm Canada
Date: January / February 2013
Excerpt: One farm group sees the potential of the ASC model as an extension of existing CSAs: “While it would be hard for most farmers to do an entirely ASC model, many would likely be interested and could afford to offer a certain number of ASC shares depending on their particular cash flow needs,”
Title: FarmStart planting seeds of hope for ecological farming
Publication: Guelph Mercury
Date: January 7, 2013
Excerpt: I believe it is of paramount importance for humanity to start planning for food security and urban agriculture can, and should, be part of the solution. Sri does, however, remind me that cities will never feed themselves without rural farmers, so we need to take aggressive action towards reviving—and respecting—our rural communities and farmers. We also need to ensure that agricultural policies support smaller farms, because, as the FarmStart website states, “young farmers and new farmers usually start out on small farms. If our policies do not support viable small farms, we bar the door to new entrants.”
Title: First-time farmers build business from the ground up
Publication: The Globe and Mail
Date: November 19, 2012
Excerpt: In this edition of Inside Jobs, we head to McVean Farm where Paul Stewart and Shira Katzberg grow an assortment of vegetables on a small plot of land they’re leasing from a non-profit. It’s their first year growing on their own, and while they’ve learned the work can be quite rigorous, they’ve also discovered that farmer’s markets can be quite lucrative.
Title: Not quite old McDonald’s farm
Date: November 7, 2012
Excerpt: Everyone knows farmers grow carrots, but who would have guessed that a carrot could grow farmers? In a nutshell, that’s just about thestory of the McVean Start-up Farm in Brampton. The goal of the operation is “basically to create sustainable farms that can meet the growing demand for local food,” says FarmStart’s startup farm programs co-ordinator Ian McCormick, “sustainable, not only environmentally and socially, but financially.”
Title: Food Secure Canada rallies around student nutrition
Date: November 7, 2012
Excerpt: Some of the best moments of optimism and enthusiasm for change came from the numerous young farmers who are farming for food differently. The Roundtable organized by FarmStart and FarmON.com featured about a dozen new farmers talking about their projects. Christie Young of FarmStart reports that there are 30,000 new farmers in Canada. They have organized into important networks like the Young Agrarians in B.C., the National Farmers Union Youth group, the Canadian Young Farmers Forum and the Greenhorns organization in the U.S.
Title: Incubator farms help new crop of farmers get started
Publication: Ontario Farmer
Date: November 6, 2012
Link: Print Edition
Excerpt: “The farmers work together to find markets, buy each other’s produce to fill gaps in production, share contacts, and agricultural techniques,” says Tribinevicius. And the growers can sell their produce at the Saturday market at the Incubator Farm which operates from July to October. Many of the farmers who got their start at McVean have moved on to lunching bigger operations.
Title: A new generation farmer weighs in on beef
Publication: This Magazine
Date: October 23, 2012
Excerpt: Ian McCormick is one of the new generation of Canadian farmers. Thanks to programs like FarmStart and CRAFT (Canadian Regional Alliance for Farmer Training), new farmers — young people and folks who often didn’t grow up farming — are trying their hand at small-scale production. FarmStart helps develop a new generation of farmers by leasing small parcels of land and facilitating training. CRAFT is a well-developed network of Ontario organic farms that offer comprehensive internships to aspiring farmers.
Title: Unconventional way to put your education to work… Farming 2.0
Publication: Career Buzz radio show of October 10, 2012, first broadcast on CIUT 89.5 FM in Toronto and online at www.ciut.fm Produced and hosted by Mark Franklin, president and practice leader of CareerCycles www.careercycles.com
Date: October 10, 2012
Excerpt: Supporting a new generation of entrepreneurial, ecological farmers is FarmStart, and we’ll be joined by executive director, Christie Young, and program manager, Sri Sethuratnum. They’ll share insights about what it takes to start a farm, and how to make this career and life choice less risky and more accessible, whether you’re a recent grad or a New Canadian.
Title: Brampton Farmers’ Market offers variety of organic produced gardener!
Publication: South Asian Focus
Date: July 17, 2012
Excerpt: Three of these organic farmers are from the McVean start-up farm located in Brampton, which provides a farm incubator program for people from non-farming backgrounds to enter the sector. McVean is home to many new Canadians who grow food for their communities, including Bhupinder Kaul, who has had great success bringing his diverse crops to the Brampton Farmers’ Market. Also a part of McVean is Adam Reid from Back to Basics Farm who likes to educate people that farmers feed families and encourages residents to discover the variety of vegetables Brampton offers.
Title: FarmStart wants garden to take root
Publication: Brampton Guardian
Date: June 21, 2012
Excerpt: A $15,000 grant from Nature’s Path Organic Foods, a B.C. business, will allow FarmStart’s McVean Community Garden to initiate a program for newcomers that will help them forge a bond with earth; integrate with others and practice sustain ability, said the program manager for the project.
Title: Program Helps Budding Farmers
Publication: At Guelph
Date: June 21, 2012
Excerpt: Now he’s helping to establish that new FarmStart location in Hamilton. There, two prospective farmers have begun working slices of soil on a 50-acre plot leased from a local restaurant group. Beyond that, the organization is looking into locations around Cambridge and east Toronto, and is discussing partnerships around Ottawa and British Columbia.
Title: Local organic options out there for produce
Date: June 16, 2012
Excerpt: Tunstall said there is lots of information available for those interested in getting started in organic gardening, including Farmstart, and an organization called the Ecological Farmers of Ontario. “The conventional thinking in our farm culture is that you have to get big or get out,” he says. “I think a small farm that focuses on local and organic produce can carve out a niche that matches what urban people want, which is the security of knowing where their food comes from and supporting local farmers in their community.”
Title: From Dream to Reality
Date: June 12, 2012
Excerpt: Over the last few years, Rowena Cruz has developed a love for organic produce. Actually, it’s more of a passion.But she didn’t want to simply go to a market and buy those vegetables and fruits. She wanted to raise them herself and build a business through which she could share the food with others. Trouble is, she had no farming background and didn’t know how to go about learning the ropes. Then she heard about FarmStart.
Title: Back to the Land with FarmStart
Publication: Food In The Hills
Date: May 18, 2012
Excerpt: The project allows prospective farmers to explore and realize their dreams of working the land without having to “buy the farm” until they are ready. Farmers usually spend between one to five years learning to grow, establishing markets for their produce and getting to know the business. They learn by doing, through trial and error, co-operation, mentorship and their own hard work. FarmStart does not necessarily make the journey easier, just a little more accessible and a lot less lonely.
Title: Food security: Why hunger is a farm issue
Date: April 20, 2012
Excerpt: Although farming is probably one of the hardest careers open to people now, Ontario’s innovative Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farm Training (CRAFT), McVean Farm at FarmStart and other sustainable agriculture training programs can boast enthusiastic enrollment and alumni ready to hit the land.
Title: With agriculture at a crossroads, young farmers face obstacles getting started
Publication: Brandon Sun
Date: March 1, 2012
Excerpt: Christie Young, executive director of FarmStart, an Ontario organization for new farmers, says about 75 per cent of outgoing farmers don’t have a successor in place. That means many farms will likely be purchased by larger operations or land developers.
“As a country we have to decide what kind of farms and communities we want,” Young said.
“There is so much evidence that owner-operated farms contribute to their communities over and above these huge, consolidated corporate farms.”
Title: The New Face of Farming
Date: January 20, 2012
Excerpt: Leave it to young people to face these questions head on. Despite an aging farmer population and uncertain finances, there is a small but steadily growing number of young farmers who have the courage, dedication, passion and ingenuity to turn conventional farming on its head and are making a go at it in new and exciting ways. Who are they and how are they doing it?
A survey taken by FarmStart, an Ontario-based organization dedicated to helping people pursue careers in agriculture, found that 68% of its interns grew up in the suburbs or city and 95% had at least some post-secondary education. Intention, rather than necessity, appears to drive these young people to what is still seen as an unusual career choice.