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Homestead T.O. was created to demonstrate ways to grow and preserve food locally and organically.  Life is busy and we have become increasingly disconnected from our food sources in recent years.  As a result, much of the food that we eat is processed while healthier, organically grown food has become more expensive.  Our program provides training to anyone looking to improve their knowledge of growing food and to make the most of their own yards and balconies.

Our urban farm plots are located in Downsview Park, near Sheppard and Keele in Toronto.  We use existing urban farmland with access to water, tools, and the expertise of neighbouring gardeners.  New to 2021, we’re also offering an online-only program.

About Derek, Co-Founder and Instructor

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When I started container gardening on a balcony 15 years ago, I fell in love with the idea of growing my own food.  Over several years, I grew veggies in backyard gardens, community gardens, and even rooftop gardens.  Five years ago, I decided to follow this passion – I changed careers and became a member farmer on urban agricultural farmland in Downsview Park.  I went back to school and completed certificates and diplomas in Horticulture, Sustainable Urban Agriculture, and Growing Plants for Profit from the University of Guelph.

I’ve helped start community gardens, facilitated gardening programs with kids and newcomers, led a rooftop gardening program, and worked with community co-ops and horticultural gardens with the goal of increasing food security in their neighbourhoods.

Homestead T.O. was created to share my passion and knowledge for growing veggies, and I love that our program brings together people who have an excitement for learning, getting their hands in the soil, and sharing the harvest!

About Vinyse, Co-Founder

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With an early-seeded passion for helping people, my career focus has been to work with not-for-profit organizations who are doing good in this world.  I’ve worked in roles that support families experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, seniors, newcomers, and individuals facing health crises.

My life goal is to make a difference in the world every day, and to inspire others to turn compassion into action.  My recent volunteer work is in the areas of environmental sustainability and animal welfare, which includes volunteering for the Toronto Vegetarian Association, and co-founding a not-for-profit that provided seed funding to build the capacity of advocates in India to care for street dogs and other animals in their community.

I absolutely love cooking with the heirloom and organically grown vegetables from our urban farm, and I love that we can share the skills and harvest with old and new friends alike.  Follow our Instagram account to see all the photos I’ve taken of our program in action, our harvest, and the dishes we’ve created with food grown with love! 

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