Erica Lemieux has ingeniously incorporated all three of these elements into her urban agriculture business, City Seed Farms. As the planting season begins, you’ll find her cycling between backyards in the High Park and Junction neighbourhoods of Toronto, with a trailer full of tools and seedlings.
City Seed Farms is a far cry from John Deere and cash crops, and indicative of the entrepreneurial spirit that young farmers like Erica bring to growing food. In the interview below, Erica explains the purpose of her work and how it fits into the future of food production.
1) Tell us a bit about you. Where did you grow up? Did you ever imagine you would be a farmer?
I grew up in Toronto. I gravitated toward High Park whenever possible and developed a curiosity about the natural environment. I gardened with my mother, took agriculture courses at McGill, and enjoyed visiting farms, but never imagined I would eventually spin farming into a career for myself.
2) When did you realize you had fallen in love with farming?
I worked for an organic farmer in Kelowna, BC, two years ago. It was hard work. It took time and commitment, and there were many long days, rain or shine—you had to really love the job to pull it off properly. The farmer I worked for described his career in farming over the past three decades as an ongoing experiment. I think I fell in love with the perpetual challenge of it; getting better at growing food is a skill that doesn’t ever plateau.