“When I was a kid, I had a series of ‘hustles’ that involved door-to-door sales. One year it was beans – fibrous and massively overgrown – the next year it was gourds. I mainly hit up the same houses that would buy whatever I was selling that day. To this day a neighbour of my parents still claims that I once sold her a potted weed!
As I grew up, I bounced from idea to idea never really landing anywhere. I knew I needed to do something entrepreneurial but everything I tried my hand at never really took off. The nagging voice in my head was always telling me to grow food – start a market garden – just start something.
After years of reading and dreaming I decided to go for it. My initial plan out the gates was to have a market garden with vegetables and cut flowers, however, after a failed attempt at purchasing a farm last fall I decided to start growing vertically while continuing my search for a plot of land.
I grow food first and foremost because I love to. It’s a lot of fun to watch a seed develop into a plant and to be nourished by that effort. It’s also something that’s always kept my attention; I’ve always been curious and a researcher – and you can never learn enough about growing food.
I grow in Milton, Ontario Canada- about a half an hour away from Toronto. I grow vertically in a space that’s under a hundred square feet and have a small family garden as well. I primarily grow microgreens that I sell via home delivery, to small grocers, caterers and restaurants. In our family garden I have tomatoes, cucumbers, a variety of beets, carrots and herbs.
Best practices when it comes to soil is to feed your soil. I love making compost and I’m also passionate about vermiculture and the magic of worms. In my growing system the soil from the harvested trays gets composted, then fed to the worms and then goes to the garden plot. Each step of the way it feeds and is fed.
The biggest hurdle I’ve faced, and what ultimately drove me to start growing vertically, is the absence of affordable land to farm. This is something that I believe can be overcome with creativity and partnerships amongst other growers, however I think this year was a bit hard for those things to come together with Covid-19 and people isolating themselves. I’m hopeful that next year will open up more opportunities for collaboration.
I love watching my young daughter eat the food we’ve grown together. I also love hearing people share their recipes and ways they’ve used my greens.
Presently, I’m trying to form some bridges with other local small farmers to see what we can collaborate and work on. There’s a ton of creative, hard working and talented people taking things on at an individual level and I’m keen to see what could happen if we worked together on some things.
If you’ve been thinking about growing for a while, just start. Get some dirt under your fingernails and don’t fall victim to paralysis by analysis.”