Currently, one in five people living in the Guelph area are immigrants. According to Statistics Canada, the population of culturally diverse groups in the community is expected to rapidly increase in the years ahead. However, many recent immigrants lack enough food. Based on the 2016 Guelph-Wellington Immigrant Survey Report, 42 per cent of respondents do not always have access to healthy food.
They also lack access to ethnic and culturally specific foodstuffs. Some fruits and vegetables are difficult to find or unaffordable: things like sorrel and callaloo and epazote. In other cases, the varieties available in Canada don’t taste the same as those in their home country. Yet a number of these food items can be grown right here, and many newcomers have farming skills. What they lack is access to any growing space.
Food from Home = Food for Home is building capacity for newcomers in our community to produce and distribute culturally appropriate foods.
We’re bringing together local urban farmers and participants from newcomer communities with experience and/or interests in growing food to form “Farm Teams.” The teams will work in local community garden spaces.
Each year, we’ll train 10 to 15 adult farmers and 10 to 15 youth who have a passion for growing food. These youth participants will form natural language bridges within the Farm Teams (as most of them speak English and the languages spoken at home and in their communities).
In years two and three, the adults and youth who participated the previous year will help train the new crop of farmers. During that time, we’ll also establish a network of small-scale urban working organic farms across the city of Guelph (in areas that are important and accessible to newcomers, such as places of worship or cultural hubs with transit access and kitchen facilities). These will be headed up by participants from the previous year, shifting ownership, decision-making and responsibility for growing food, harvesting and marketing entirely to those communities.
Our three-year project cycle will foster exchange of knowledge and adaptive practices among new and experienced urban farmers in soil preparation, composting methods, nutrient needs, transplanting techniques, direct sowing methods, crop maintenance and extending the season (using row covers, cold frames and small greenhouses). Each step of this project generates new opportunities for income generation and meaningful employment.
It will also decrease social isolation amongst newcomers, increase inter-generational connections and encourage greater physical well-being through outdoor activity and access to fresh, affordable culturally appropriate produce.
Get Growing—urban agriculture in Guelph-Wellington
As part of our urban agriculture work to support COVID-19 recovery efforts, we’ve provided $30,000 in funding to accelerate the Food from Home = Food for Home project.
On the human side, Food from Home = Food for Home is guided by the goals of social health, justice, active participation in change, resilience, regeneration, equity and inclusion, creativity, and beauty.
On the ecological side, Food from Home = Food for Home is guided by a commitment to practices that reduce dependency on fossil fuels; apply principles of permaculture, organic farming and biodynamic farming; work in harmony with natural systems; and help us live fully within our ecological footprint.
- Training of 10 to 15 adult urban farmers and 10 to 15 youth farmers per year
- Establishment or augmentation of five to six small urban organic working farms equipped with water, electricity, secure storage space for tools and equipment, a small greenhouse, equipment and dry storage
- A revised Guelph-Wellington Local Food Map that includes all urban growing areas, including these Food from Home = Food for Home farms
- Opportunities for spinoff businesses and collaborations
- An increase in economic opportunities and revenue