In the spring of 2011, The Concordia Greenhouse created the City Farm School. In its inaugural year, the school was comprised of a 5 day training school followed with optional internship placement either at the university or in the community. Forty students attended the school, with 11 teachers from the local community facilitating both hands-on workshops and lecture classes. After the school was complete, 8 students took up the challenge of summer internships. The largest project the interns were responsible for was the creation of the Loyola City Farm, an urban garden located at the Loyola campus that grew vegetables, medicinal herbs and mushrooms. During the first year we also made a partnership with the NDG food depot, to whom we donated over 100kg of food to.
Our second year we experimented with an 8 month long curriculum that began with seedling production in Concordia’s Rooftop Greenhouse, and ended with a community harvest party at Loyola Campus. The 16 Students enrolled in the garden in 2012, helped us to expand the garden by twice it’s original size! We were fortunate to have some really amazing teachers join us, some of whom have become staples of the program after proving that their knowledge is indispensable.
In 2015, we expanded to offer two new streams of education: Medicinal Herbs and Schoolyard Gardener, along with the return of the Market Gardener internship. In total we had 34 students register for the program, each of which dedicated over 100 hours of their time to expanding the Loyola Farm, building school gardens, as well as harnessing a wide range of medicinal potions from our large herbal garden. We saw our weekly market stand expand to two days a week, which helped to generate over $3000 dollars for the project all the while introducing us to many of our neighbors, who stopped by almost every week from June until late October.
Currently, we offer 4 internship streams: Market Gardener (9 months,) Herbal Pharmacy (5 months,) Farm to Market (3 months) and Food Sovereignty & Transformation Session (3 months.) Learn more about our internships here.
The City Farm School project is founded with the same principles and goals of the Concordia Greenhouse, to facilitate education through an experience-based model. The primary goal of this project is to respond to a growing interest in issues around food sovereignty and the practice of urban agriculture as well as to provide an opportunity for students and community to collaborate.
The Concordia Greenhouse and our City Farm School work to provide a year-round opportunity to grow ecologically-grown food.
As an organization that works that works the land, we acknowledge that Concordia University is located on unceded Indigenous lands and give honor and gratitude to those who stewarded and continue to steward this land. The Kanien’kehá:ka Nation is recognized as the custodians of the lands and waters of Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal, historically known as a gathering place for many First Nations.
The City Farm School project is financially supported by the Concordia Council on Student Life, Sustainable Action Fund, Concordia University Vice President of Services, Equiterre, Aqperre, Fulbright Canada Eco-leadership program, and the generous support of all those who come to our weekly market and annual seedling sale. Thank-you!
Click here to learn more about the City Farm School team!