Our Farms

Near urban Start-Up Farms can be a valuable addition to agriculture by acting as a stepping-stone to larger and more rural farm businesses or by becoming viable business models in their own right.

The near urban location of our Start-Up Farms helps prospective farmers to start their operation and at the same time work off farm or stay in their current communities. A new farmer can get their business model off the ground (product, production, marketing, pricing etc.), they can spend the time gaining the skills and assets they need and they can experiment in new crops and production techniques without the risk of having to “buy the farm”. We believe this helps to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and allows new farmers to safely make their mistakes, innovate and re-strategize. There are very few ways that a new farmer can get into the business with such a level of risk tolerance and low cost of entry.

Though on paper it may seem the enterprises our farmers start are small in scale, the fact that most are generating income from it indicates that farming at this scale is viable and can also lead to appropriate and manageable scaling up of their enterprises as they move on and grow.

Near urban farmers are also uniquely situated to be able to take advantage of the growing demand for fresh (“just picked”) meaningful (“down the street”, “familiar foods from home”) products. The interest in locally grown and culturally appropriate food is outpacing supply (see Growing International: Exploring the potential of growing ethno-cutural food markets in the GTA). These consumers and institutions are driving the resurgence of local farmers, shorter more transparent food supply chains and direct marketing avenues. Our start-up farmers at are part of a new generation of farmers who will produce this food and serve these markets.

  • Brampton: McVean Farm
  • Hamilton: Earth to Table Farm
  • Farms in Development

Scroll down to learn more about the Farms listed above.

 

Brampton: McVean Farm

Our McVean Start-Up farm in Brampton is the first of it’s kind in Canada and has become a viable model for others to learn from across the country.

This year the 45-acre farm had 36 new farmers digging in, with 20 different farm enterprises on-site. These farmers, from more than 10 different countries, are growing a huge diversity of crops, from honey to mushrooms to a hundred kinds of vegetables. Their produce is beautiful, fresh picked and often sold directly to their consumers through farmers markets, restaurants and on farm you-pick. McVean is a vibrant example of viable near-urban, ecological agriculture and an opportunity for new farmers from urban and near-urban areas, home to many New Canadians, to begin to grow food for their communities.

In support of the McVean Farm, FarmStart hosts an annual on farm fundraiser.  To find out more click here.

This 45-acre facility is owned by the Toronto and Region Conservation and leased to FarmStart on a long-term lease.

The address for the McVean Farm Property is N/W corner of McVean Drive & Queen St. E., Pt. Lt. 6 Conc. 8 N.D. , Brampton, ON. The entrance is off of McVean and Dunegrass Way.


View Larger Map

Land available: 45 acres. 

¼ acre – Test Cropper plots. March to November

1 – 5 acres for Start-Up and Enterprise Farmers

Participants have access to tilled land, ready for planting. The land and farm infrastrucutre is certified organic.

Types of Production:

Vegetables and fruits, mushrooms, honey, flowers etc. No livestock.

Shared Facilities and Equipment:

  • Tractor,
  • Walk behind tractors (BCS),
  • Roto-tillers
  • Irrigation (from city hydrants)
  • Wash station,
  • Cold, dry and equipment storage facilities.

Services:

FarmStart provides custom tractor work (such as plowing and bed making). FarmStart also assists participants in sourcing inputs like planting materials compost and hay as and when required.

Marketing:

A farm market stall is available to participant farmers to allow for direct sales of crops to the public. The McVean Farmers Market is in operation Saturdays from July to October.

The farm is ½ hour away from downtown Toronto. Many farmers serve a variety of local and Toronto markets and customers.

Mentorship and Training:

Mentoring and training are an important part of FarmStart’s programs.

There are several technical workshops conducted at Mcvean, which are mandatory for all incoming farmers.

The Farm Manager acts as mentor as well as providing technical and practical support to participants on site as required.

Business development workshops and farm tours are offer by FarmStart on a regular basis, and participants are referred to a wide range of training courses and mentorship opportunities also offered by partner organizations such as the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, Farmers Growing Farmers, and others.

Applications for the McVean Start-Up Farm are now open and will be accepted until December 15, 2014.

> APPLY

 Community Garden Plots

Not ready to be a farmer, but looking for access to garden?  McVean Farm also has Community Garden Plots.  Plots are 1000 sq ft – more than enough to grow all the food needed for you, your family and friends. Conveniently located on McVean Drive just north of Dunegrass Way.
Annual fee of $254.25 ($225 + $29.25 HST) required to reserve plot. This fee includes access to water and your plot comes tilled, and ready to work. All you have to do is bring the seeds and your time.
To reserve your garden contact: sri@farmstart.ca or call 519-836-7046 x 107.

 

Our McVean Farm Funders

Trillium Foundation

Heifer International

Laidlaw Foundation

Loblaw

Ontario Market Investment Fund, OMAFRA

 

2014 Season – McVean Farms

Test Cropper

Joaquin Hidalgo

Start Up Farms

Year 2
Food Forest Organics - Hugh Philips

Year 3
Footstep Organics - Paul Stewart & Shira Katzberg

Year 4
Cooperative Semartaine – Yvonne Kabeya
Potager duKanada Iqbal Mauthoor
The Green House Eatery – Audrey McDonald
Back to Basics Farming – Adam Reid

Year 5 Vikrai Fresh Produce - Peter Seenath
The Healthy Choice Farm – Manmeet Singh

Year 6
The Fresh Veggies – Bob Baloch
Southern Horizons – Margret Zondo and Rodney Garnes
Au Bon Acre – Andres Valbuena Touar

Community Groups
Afri -Can Food Basket- grows African-Caribbean varieties of vegetables and runs an agricultural program for youth. 

 

Hamilton: Earth to Table Farm

The “Earth to Table”  Start-Up Farm is a benchmark for FarmStart and the Start-Up Farm concept in many ways. This is the first time a Start-Up Farm is in the process of being established on privately owned farmland. It is also the first Start-Up Farm in the province outside of the Greater Toronto Area and is surrounded by working farmland.

The Earth to Table Start-Up Farm is 50 acres in extent and this season we will have two farm enterprises starting operations. This farm will serve aspiring new farmers from the Hamilton, Ancaster, Burlington and Flamborough regions.

 

2014 Season – Earth to Table Farms 

Start Up Farms

Year 1
Test Cropper - Christie Dunbar
Start Up Farmer - Jon Gowing
Year 2
Weathervane Farms - Joanne & Igor Kasprzycki
Year 4 
Close to Home Farm - Rowena Cruz

Previous Years:
2013 Start Up Farmers
Green Vision Farms - Chandrika Bhatia
Fresh Start Farm - Ben James
2012 Test Croppers
Earthly Harvest Farms - Brad Mulhbacher & Fernando Dourado

The farm is located at 250 4th Concession Road W, Flamborough, Ontario.


View Larger Map

Land available: 50 acres. 

¼ acre – Test Cropper plots. March to November

1 – 5 acres for Start-Up and Enterprise Farmers

Participants have access to tilled land, ready for planting. The land and farm infrastrucutre is certified organic.

Types of Production:

Vegetables and fruits, mushrooms, honey, flowers etc, livestock.

Shared Facilities and Equipment:

  • Tractor,
  • Walk behind tractors (BCS)
  • Roto-tillers
  • Irrigation

Services:

FarmStart provides custom tractor work (such as plowing and bed making). FarmStart also assists participants in sourcing inputs like planting materials compost and hay as and when required.

Marketing:

The farm is close to markets and customers in Hamilton, Ancaster, Burlington and Flamborough.

Mentorship and Training:

Mentoring and training are an important part of FarmStart’s programs.

The Farm Manager acts as mentor as well as providing technical and practical support to participants on site as required.

Business development workshops and farm tours are offer by FarmStart on a regular basis, and participants are referred to a wide range of training courses and mentorship opportunities also offered by partner organizations such as the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, Farmers Growing Farmers, and others.

Applications for the Earth to Table Start-Up Farm are now open and will be accepted until November 30th, 2014.

> APPLY

 

Our Earth to Table Farm Funders

Trillium Foundation

 

Farms in Development

We are starting to develop new Start-Up farms in partnerships with a variety of different landholders. We are also thrilled to be able to support other organizations to start their own and help to develop a network of Start-Up Farms across the country

Proposed Start-Up Farm Locations:

 

 

Past Seasons at McVean Farm

2013 McVean Farmers

Test Cropper
Hugh Philips

 

Start Up Farms
Etienne Avouampo
Bob Baloch
Kate Hamilton
Yvonne Kabeya
Larry Kelloway
Vera Kraveva
Iqbal Mauthoor
Audrey McDonald
Adam Reid
Peter Seenath
Manmeet Singh
Paul Stewart & Shira Katzberg
Andres Valbuena
Margret Zondo and Rodney Garnes
Afri -Can Food Basket

2012 McVean Farmers

Test Croppers
Tunde Sinclair

Etienne Avouampo
Paul Stewart
Larry Kelloway

 

Start Up Farms
Francis Augustine
Bob Baloch
Luis Canora
Kate Hamilton
Fanny Hennebo, Prapti Giri &  Andres Valbuena
Yvonne Kabeya
Bhupinder Kaul
Vera Kraveva
Iqbal Mauthoor
Audrey McDonald
Joyce and Stanley Ramnarine
Adam Reid
Peter Seenath
Manmeet Singh
Margret Zondo and Rodney Garnes
Afri -Can Food Basket

2011 McVean Farmers

Test Croppers 
Iwona Ewertowski 
Iqbal Mauthoor 
Audrey McDonald 
Adam Reid 
Andres Valbuena and Kathy Escandon 
Yvonne Kabeya 

Start Up Farmers 
Francis Augustine
Bahauddin  Baloch
Luis Canora 
Ying Dong Cheng 
Laurel Fortin 
Kate Hamilton
Daniel Hoffmann
Bhupinder Kaul
Vera Krayeva
Joyce and Stanley Ramnarine
Peter Seenath
Manmeet Singh
Margaret Zondo and Rodney Garnes
African Food Basket
Community Environmental Alliance

2010 McVean Farmers

Test Croppers
Francis Augustine  
Yvonne Kabeya  
Bhupinder Kaul
Surein Joseph Leanage & Wayne Salmon
Joyce and Stanley Ramnarine
Manmeet Singh 
Vic Soma
Kate Vinokurov 

Start Up Farmers
Francis Augustine
Bahauddin  Baloch
Luis Canora 
Ying Dong Cheng 
Laurel Fortin 
Kate Hamilton
Daniel Hoffmann
Vera Krayeva
Eric Rosenkrantz & Hannah Jacobs
Peter Seenath
Margaret Zondo and Rodney Garnes
African Food Basket
Community Environmental Alliance

2009 McVean Farmers
Savaliya Anan
Bob Baloch
Luis Canora
Ying Dong Cheng 
Laurel Fortin
Erik Hagman
Kate Hamilton
Daniel Hoffman
Kamalesh Patel
Eric Rosenkrantz & Hannah Jacobs
Jasjinder Singh
Magaret Zondo  and Rodney Garnes
African Food Basket

 

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