Welcome to the May edition of the FarmStart Newsletter!

Spring has finally arrived at FarmStart’s Brampton and Guelph farm facilities! Many of our new farmers have seedlings on the go, ready for transplant in the coming weeks. Readying our Brampton facility to welcome these operations has proven an exciting, challenging process. Program Manager Mike Shook and McVean Farm Manager Carlton Allen have devoted countless hours this past month to turning McVean Farm from a heritage site into a working farm. Finally, as the signs of spring add up and the land grows ready for planting, Mike and Carlton can breathe a sigh of relief that irrigation, sanitation, shared equipment, and marketing opportunities are all in place for the season.

Although the McVean farm still looks a little bare from the road, it will soon be a hive of activity. We have just purchased a small, portable office for the facility, where Carlton will take up daily residence in the coming weeks. Working from an office on-site will allow Carlton to provide mentorship and support to our new farmers; he will also be kept busy setting up our world crop research trials. Stay tuned for progress reports on our okra, bitter melon, scotch bonnet peppers, Caribbean pumpkin, and other exciting varieties as the season moves along.

Eager to witness some of this exciting work? We’re happy to announce that plans for an open house at the McVean farm are underway! We’ll be sure to let you know once we’ve fixed a date.

Please read on to learn more about our recent activities and upcoming events.

If you know of anyone who might be interested in receiving this Newsletter, please pass it along. Anyone can sign up at http://www.farmstart.ca/signup/

Best regards,


FarmStart Director


Incubator Farmers on the Web!

Wondering how you can keep up on our new farmers’ progress? Curious about where you can purchase the fruits of their labour? Check out our new farmers’ websites!

Beet Street CSA’s colourful new website explains the ins and outs of Community Supported Agriculture, and shares the story behind Carolyn and Rachel’s exciting new operation. Live in the GTA? Interested in receiving a weekly box of gorgeous, fresh, locally-grown veggies delivered to your front door? Visit www.beetstreetcsa.ca to find out how to join.

Matchbox Garden Inc.’s lovely new blog shares regular updates on the Matchbox farmers’ adventures in urban gardening in Toronto and near-urban farming at the McVean Incubator Farm. Matchbox will be selling their rare and heirloom variety seedlings, herbs, and vegetables at two Toronto farmers’ markets (Trinity Bellwoods and Sorauren) and the Brampton Farmers’ Market throughout the summer. Visit www.matchboxgarden.ca for more information.


FarmStart’s Ready to Farm? Business Development Course graduates ten future farmers!

Farm business course participants visit Greenfields Organic Farm

The Spring 2008 Ready to Farm? Business Development Course concluded last Tuesday night with a celebratory supper of local delicacies. Ten future farmers – Alvin, Jason M., Jason H., Miguel, Valeria, Graham, Jake, Cheng, Tim and Jennifer – stuck it out through our intensive, nine-session course on farm business planning, co-facilitated by David Cohlmeyer of Cookstown Greens and our own Training and Resource Coordinator, Sophie Llewelyn. The course guided participants through a process of identifying values, visions, and goals, through developing production, marketing, and financial plans, to building a business plan that new farmers can take to the bank. A series of workshops and farm tours anchored the theoretical stuff of our regular course sessions in the practical day-to-day considerations of planning and running a farm.

Continue reading…

Check out our newswire for updates on future learning opportunities.


Featured Resource:

The role of copper‐ and sulfur‐based fungicides in organic vegetable production
By Ahmed Bilal, World Crop Agronomist

Curious about the role of copper- and sulfur-based fungicides in organic vegetable production? Agronomist Ahmed Bilal has your answer! As Ahmed points out in his first technical brief for FarmStart, copper- and sulfur-based fungicides are inexpensive, widely available, and have long been used to prevent the onset of a range of diseases. Follow the link below to learn more about the use of these chemicals as part of an integrated plant management system.

Continue reading…


Upcoming Events:

FarmStart’s Director, Christie Young will be speaking at the Imagining Sustainable Food Systems Conference, Wilfred Laurier, May 7-9.

You can also look for Christie at the upcoming Canadian Farm Business Advisor Association’s Wellington County meeting, where she’ll be speaking on May 15.

Check out our newswire for updated event listings.


Featured books:

Farming in the Dark: A Discussion About the Future of Sustainable Agriculture
..Rhonda R. Janke
..University Readers


Chicken Coops: 45 Building Plans for Housing Your Flock
Judy Pangman
Storey Publishing


Visit the FarmStart bookstore to view other essential titles in sustainable agriculture!


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