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Planting the seeds for community: YMCA farmer Mel explains why local produce needs our support

22 April 2020 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto
May 11 is a big day for farmer Mélisanne. That’s the day she and her team plant the seeds for the organic vegetables that will feed YMCA members across Brampton, Mississauga, and Toronto, as well as the local Schomberg community surrounding the farm.

Mel’s crop gets to so many people because she runs a harvest share program. Every week from the late summer into the fall, her team harvests fresh veggies from YMCA Cedar Glen organic farm and delivers them to pick-up points all around our region.

This year, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the program is more important than ever. “Those who can are being asked to stay home for the collective health and safety of our community,” Mel says. But of course, we need to get our food from somewhere! “Farmers must continue to prepare for the upcoming growing season. We’re used to facing challenges, usually with the weather, and we’re good at finding ways to adapt to ensure the most productive outcomes.” COVID-19 is certainly one such challenge, and, just as our community supports local farmers like Mel in good times, we’ll be there in these more challenging ones. “With the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, members keep local farms alive. Members and farmers build a mutually beneficial partnership around fresh, healthy produce that allows them to be stronger together — even while we’re apart.”

YMCA Cedar Glen Organic Farm is a four-acre certified organic vegetable farm in Schomberg. The harvest share program helps support the farm, which employs a new generation of farmers and is home to the YMCA Farm Camp. In July and August, young people ages six to 14 learn to grow and cook vegetables here. They start to understand where their food comes from, and why the earth needs our respect and attention now more than ever.

This year, fresh organic veggies will be available weekly to harvest shareholders from July 27 to October 8. Every Thursday, you’ll pick up your basket containing five vegetables. The cost for all 11 weeks is only $275.00. Delivery all the way from Cedar Glen Organic Farm is included free of charge, so you can pick your basket up from one of these YMCA Health and Fitness Centres:

We’re really hopeful these locations, which are currently closed, will be open again by summer. But if not, you’ll still get your veggies! We’ll arrange for curb-side pick-up. You can also pick up your baskets from YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre, but the schedule and pricing is a bit different. Just ask us for details when you register!

To get fresh, organic veggies and support local farmers through our harvest share program, email or call (289) 926-8659.


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