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Diverse harvest for budding farmers
Immigrants learn basics of growing crops here; others benefit with fresh callaloo, okra, garlic
Nicole Baute, TORONTO STAR
Oct 13, 2008
Anan Lololi shows off rows of callaloo growing in a Brampton field. The plants are closely shorn, with leaves that look like spinach, but bigger.
“They call it pigweed … but it is one of the most popular foods in the Caribbean,” Lololi says, still incredulous at the inglorious name after living in Canada for almost 30 years.
Lololi, who is originally from Guyana, likes to sauté his callaloo in garlic and olive oil.
“There definitely is a market for it, you know? We’re importing callaloo from Jamaica and the Philippines and it grows wild here.”
Callaloo is just one of the crops being grown by the non-profit Afri-Can FoodBasket and other groups at the McVean Farm. The new 35-acre incubator farm is owned by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and rented to a Guelph-based not-for-profit organization called FarmStart, which teaches new farmers the agricultural basics and rents them land and equipment at steep discounts