Photo by Lisa Sweetman: Earlscourt Garden Front Gate
If you’re a Torontonian who is into food, gardening and community initiatives, you’ve likely heard of The Stop. It’s an awesome community-based, non-for-profit food bank that seeks to connect people to nature and food, and to ‘give everyone a seat at the table’.
The Stop’s particular focus is on giving marginalized people access not only to healthy, locally grown food but also education and information about food systems and food security.
As regulars at Wychwood Farmers Market, we have always been very supportive of The Stop and its initiatives. We share a similar mission—to provide access to healthy, local and sustainable food—and our relationship has only grown since we started working together under the same roof.
One cool way we’re working together is an ongoing partnership regarding food waste. From May to October we partner with The Stop in an interesting and unique way - we give them our organic food scraps and they turn them into compost for use at their Earlscourt Community Garden!
Photo by Lisa Sweetman: Our amazing staff member Eduardo delivering food scraps to the Community Garden
What does this look like In practice? Well, we save all of our organic kitchen scraps, like the kale and collard stems from our green smoothies, and peels from onions, bananas or squash. Throughout the week we add these to a bucket and top them off periodically with paper towel and cacao shells from Chocosol (this helps to keep bad smells at bay).
When it’s time to make the drop off, we deliver the bins on our way to the markets about 1-2 times per week to the community garden at St Clair and Lansdowne. We then simply come by another day to pick up the emptied buckets and voila!
Much like our reciprocal relationship with Village Juicery (we take their juice pulp to make our crackers: more on that in a future blog post), we love that we can connect with a like-minded local organization in a way that benefits us both and underscores our core values.
This is another reason why farmers markets are so important: not only do they connect you to what you eat, local farmers and the seasonality of food, they also help to foster a sense of community.
Photo by Lisa Sweetman: Community garden volunteers hard at work
You can even get involved in The Stop’s community garden yourself by volunteering. You’ll get to learn about environmental issues and organic gardening, and get to take home some of the fruits of your labour in the form of delicious, locally grown fruits and vegetables! If you’d like to get involved more information can be found here.
It’s amazing to think that our food waste can be turned into compost which will help grow vegetables at Earlscourt Garden, which will then be distributed amongst members in our community, at The Stop Headquarters on Davenport (just a stone throw from our production kitchen) and at The Stop Cafe at Wychwood Barns, where we sell our products every Saturday morning. That’s the true essence of Earth + City: food full circle.
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Did you know that one of your favourite Earth and City products is a collaboration with another awesome Toronto-based small business? That’s right...our crackers contain leftover nutrient-rich juice pulp from Village Juicery’s cold-pressed juices.
These days there are apps for everything from playing with someone else’s dog to sailing on someone else’s boat. There’s even one for using other people’s toilets!
It’s called Garden Sharing... the idea is to build a sense of community, give people access to green space and create a supply of healthy, local and organic fruits and vegetables.