Flemingdon Community Farm (Flemo Farm) is a pilot initiative transforming an underutilised grass area in Flemingdon Park into a vibrant community space growing food. Flemingdon Health Centre, the City of Toronto, Weston Family Foundation, Park People, CIGNA Foundation and FoodShare are assisting this community-owned and community-developed initiative with implementation. The half-acre / 2,000m² site is roughly divided in two. Half, the communal garden plot, is a community space with a teaching garden to engage community members who want to learn to farm. It will offer employment, volunteering opportunities, host educational visits, workshops, community events and a weekly farmers market where community farmers will be able to sell their harvest. This year, the harvest grown on the communal garden plot will be donated to residents through a collaboration with Flemingdon-Thorncliffe Food Security Network. The second half is being managed as an entrepreneurial development project. Through an open application process 6 residents have been selected to be Community farmers and invited to operate their own 2,400sq ft / 225m² micro-farm business. These community farmers are given access to all infrastructure, equipment, tools and supplies necessary to manage their plot; participate in professionally run workshops and trainings, and keep any money they make from what they grow on their plot. With their first planting season having kicked-off in earnest in Spring 2021, they are expecting a weekly harvest of around 1,000lbs / 455kg of produce from the beginning of June until the final harvest in October, over 15,000lbs / 7,000kg annually. It is hoped this will become a model for what can happen across Toronto’s underutilised grass areas.
This scale of production requires an on-site walk-in cooler to keep the harvest fresh until distribution. Sufficient funds were secured to purchase and convert a shipping container into a cooler, but not to hook it up to the electricity supply. The Scheinberg Relief Fund was thrilled to provide the funds needed to complete the job. Funding was also provided for the development of community activities at the site.