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.

FarmStart is offering programming at two farms, The McVean Farm in Brampton and The Earth to Table Farm in Flamborough.

Brampton: McVean Farm

The 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.

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.  The McVean Farm currently is host to the Vegetable Farm Enterprise Program.  In this part-time, flexible program participants take lear small scale, sustainable, interactive farming methods.  The program lasts a full growing season and includes winter workshops, hands on vegetable growing internship at the farm, and your own garden plot.  For more information 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 9376 McVean Drive Brampton, ON. The entrance is at the intersection of McVean Drive and Dunegrass Way.  View Map.

Land available: 45 acres. 

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.

 

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.

Annual fee of $225 is 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 plot: Book online or download Community Plot Agreement-2 and send your agreement and cheque to: FarmStart, 5420 Hwy 6 North, Guelph, ON N1H 6J2

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.  Earth to Table Farm is hosting the Start-Up Farm Program for Test Croppers and Start-Up Farmers.

 Applications for the Earth to Table Start-Up Farm are now open for the 2016 season and will be accepted until December 15th, 2015.  To Apply Click Here

Interested in farming with us? Come check out our Earth to Table Start-Up Farm!
This is a great opportunity to learn about the Start-Up Farm program including, but not limited to:
  • farmer application process (and tips!)
  • fees
  • farm infrastructure, equipment and other resources available to farmers.
There will be plenty of opportunity to tour the facilities, ask questions about the program and get an idea what it’s like to farm with us.
When: Saturday September 26th
Time:  2:30pm – 5:30pm
Location: Earth to Table Farm, 250 Concession 4 West, Millgrove. View Map.
To Register: Click Here

This farm serves aspiring new farmers from the Hamilton, Ancaster, Burlington and Flamborough regions.

The farm is located at 250 4th Concession Road W, Flamborough, Ontario.  View 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
  • Wash station
    Cold, dry and equipments storage space

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:

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 offered 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.

Past Start-Up Farm Farmers from both McVean & Earth to Table Farms.

Near Urban Farming

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.

 

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