‘FarmStart’ aims to encourage and support a new generation of entrepreneurial, ecological farmers.
McVean Start-up Farm in Brampton, Ontario
‘Not quite old McDonald’s farm’
By Sarah B. Hood
Yonge STreet Media
November 07, 2012
Situated on 45 acres that once made up a prosperous family farm, but is now leased from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, it provides new farmers—many born outside Canada—with growing space while they learn their skills.
The goal of the operation is “basically to create sustainable farms that can meet the growing demand for local food,” says FarmStart’s startup farm programs co-ordinator Ian McCormick, “sustainable, not only environmentally and socially, but financially.”
The McVean Farm is so close to the city it gives shoppers the chance to buy the freshest produce around. “You can harvest the same day you go to market,” says McDonald.
In the past century, urban growth has encroached on what was once a rural area; the McVean Farm is now surrounded by suburban houses. That speaks to southern Ontario’s shrinking pool of farmland—and the people to farm it. But new farmers like McDonald are reversing that history.
“I like the fact that we bring tonnes of food to Ontarians,” she says. “We are a huge part of the local food movement here.”