Healthy LivingYMCA Green Team

YMCA recognized for environmental leadership and earth-friendly initiatives

15 April 2019 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto
The YMCA of Greater Toronto has been selected as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the ninth time! We’re honoured to be recipients of this prestigious award, which recognizes employers that “lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness,” including through earth-friendly programs and demonstrating environmental leadership.

To honour our selection, we’re featuring one of our unique green initiatives: the Harvest Share Program. All summer long, this program keeps the kitchens of our volunteers, members, and staff stocked with fresh veggies from our organic farm at YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre. Buying in helps people eat well and improve their own personal health; but it also connects them to the source of their foods, fosters environmental awareness, and supports local farming. Proceeds go towards creating even more sustainable farming and camp programs that everyone in our communities can enjoy.

Farmers at Cedar GlenThe Harvest Share Program also brings communities together. “Weekly vegetable deliveries spark gatherings, conversations, and exchanges,” says Melisanne, our Farm Coordinator at YMCA Cedar Glen. “The interdependence between farmers and members allows for the sustainable development of our organic farm and our community. We at the farm want to grow not only fruits and vegetables, but also individuals as they make the journey towards their own healthy and environmentally-friendly lifestyles.”

YMCA staff members in particular come together thanks to the program, partnering on their shares and enjoying meals together. For our team members, this kind of environmental stewardship is a must if we’re going to build resilient communities that can lead the GTA to a sustainable future.

It’s this kind of community building that makes our farm — and the Y as a whole — so special. “The reason why our YMCA farm works is because of all the people who help make it happen, even without ever putting foot on the actual farm,” Melisanne explains. “Through my work, I get to see all those connections. I get to know all these people who support our farming adventure, and share with everyone what’s behind the food we eat.” She even gets to teach the next generation — who will one day have the responsibility of protecting our planet — where their food comes from in Farm Camp.

Melisanne says she’s grown so much (pun intended!) working as a farmer and educator at the Y. Farming isn’t just a job; it’s her passion. And it’s thanks to team members like her that we’re accepting this award today. Being selected as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers shows that, when measured against national standards, our programs are earth-friendly and progressive. We couldn’t be more proud of this progress, and are committed to doing even more to support environmental sustainability, because we know it’s the only way we can deliver on our promise to make the GTA home to the healthiest children, teens, and young adults.


Visit to find out more about our programs, services and charitable impact.


See the many ways to give to the Y and help build a brighter future.


Find child care programs that help children and families shine.


Stay healthy, active and connected at our health and fitness centres.


Explore camps and outdoor centres for fun, adventure, leadership, skills-building and more.


Get the job you want and brighten your career with help from Employment Services.


Settle in and light up your new life in the GTA with support from Immigrant Services.


Make new friends, hone new skills and find counselling at our Youth Programs.


Give back and shine on with rewarding YMCA Volunteer Opportunities.


Find out about our green initiatives and what we're doing to build resilience to climate change.


Light up learning at  YMCA Academy, a middle and high school for those who learn differently.