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Toronto District School Board Partners with Friendly Fire Winner, SKYLINE FARMS

Skyline Farms, one of the HumberLaunch Incubator’s 2013 Friendly Fire Competition winners, works to provide a solution to the current demand for sustainable urban agriculture.

 

Gustavo Macias and Jake Harding, co-founders of Skyline Farms, use hydroponic ‘tower gardens’ that require 90% less water, and grow better tasting and healthier vegetables up to 30% faster than conventional farming- and they take up less space. Economically, local tower gardening eliminates transportation cost by allowing vegetables to ripen on the vine rather than on a truck. This form of urban agriculture not only eliminates the need for fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides – making vegetables healthier for your body, and your environment – but also allows consumers to reconnect with their food by growing vegetables in their own backyard, on their rooftop, or in a community garden.

 

Recognizing the benefits inherent in this type of agriculture, the Toronto District School Board, in collaboration with Humber College, partnered with Skyline Farms to participate in the My Food, My Way initiative: a project that aims to teach students to make healthier food choices, reconnect with where their food comes from, and sustainably reframe the culture of food and nutrition at school and at home.

 

In their pilot project at Thistletown Collegiate Institute, a TDSB school with a culinary program already in place, Skyline Farms has set up a vertical aeroponic farm to provide the program with fresh and nutritious fruits and veggies.  The students get the full experience of food in this program: they grow, harvest, cook, eat, and even sell their local produce to other school cafeterias in the area.

 

Now, in its first phase of the Urban Farming Innovation Project at Thistletown C.I., Skyline Farms will hire students to help in the planting, maintenance, and harvesting of this urban farm. The students will gain exposure to new types farming technology, access to a wide variety of healthy produce, and insight into sustainable ways to feed this generation and the next. This pilot project hopes to expand in the future to high schools across the TDSB.