Social gardening enterprise Young Urban Farmers CSA wins $10K in ClimateSpark Challenge
Wong expects to have between 20 and 25 gardens operating in Toronto this year.
By Edward Keenan
February 22, 2012
When the winners of the ClimateSpark Venture Challenge were announced early this month, local “mini-farming” social enterprise Young Urban Farmers CSA (YUFCSA) got a $10,000 shot in the arm. More than that, says the organization’s sales manager and board president Chris Wong, they got valuable community feedback and advice during the process of working through the competition.
“It was very helpful for us, as I’d guess it was for most or all of the participants.”
Through rounds in which feedback was offered by members of the public and by industry experts, the organization was able to hone its message and model. “One example is, we had the chance to focus, hone and quantify our measuring of the greenhouse gas reductions that result from our gardens.” The amount of reductions, it turns out, in 2011, was 2091 kg of C02, or 84 kg per participant in the program.
Those reductions come from YUFCSA’s efforts to convert residential backyards and front yards into community gardens. Shareholders receive produce farmed by volunteers from neighbourhood mini-farms. In 2010, the organization’s first year, they established seven gardens; last year the number grew to 14. This year, with the help of the funding from ClimateSpark, Wong expects to have between 20 and 25 gardens operating.