Toronto Education Workers

Toronto Education Workers

August 29, 2013 16:53 ET

Toronto High School Begins Innovative Tower Farming Project

My Food My Way helps introduce vertical gardens at Thistletown Collegiate Institute

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 29, 2013) -

Editor's note: There is one photo associated with this press release.

Toronto-based student nutrition campaign My Food My Way has partnered with Humber College and Skyline Farms to begin implementing innovative tower farms into high schools across the GTA. The pilot school for what is being called the 'Urban Farming Innovation Project' is North Etobicoke's Thistletown Collegiate Institute (TCI).

Cities around the world have turned to urban farming as a viable solution to the growing economic and environmental problems created by industrial food systems and a reduction in farmland.

It is in this shifting climate that My Food My Way is collaborating with Skyline Farms, an urban farming business started by Gustavo Macias and Jake Harding, two graduates from the Humber College Sustainable Energy and Building Technology Program. Their company has developed a scalable farming model that facilitates the growth and distribution of produce within urban areas.

Skyline Farms utilizes tower gardens to grow hyper-local, GMO-Free produce using a method that requires no soil and operating on minimal space. Because of its vertical design and unique aeroponic technology, tower gardens use less than 10% of the water and land required by traditional, soil-based agriculture.

Harding commented on the benefits of bringing the system into high schools stating, "Not only will the experience inspire them towards healthier, more sustainable food choices; students will be equipped for future jobs in the up-and-coming industry of urban agriculture."

TCI has been working with My Food My Way as part of its Student Ambassador Program and seems to be a logical choice to pilot the project. With an existing organic garden, a teaching kitchen, and a strong culinary program under the guidance of chef and teacher Keith Hoare, many TCI students are already highly engaged in the food culture at their school.

This is one of several My Food My Way projects that support their mandate to "change the culture of food in Toronto's homes, schools, and communities."

"By integrating schools into the farming and distribution process, we hope to instill in students a greater appreciation for the food they eat," said John Weatherup, President of the Toronto Education Workers (TEW). The TEW is the union spearheading the My Food My Way campaign jointly with the Toronto District School Board as part of their Healthy Learning Healthy Living initiative.

The pilot project will provide the opportunity to validate its continuing development and will work towards getting the necessary buy-in from other schools. There have also been discussions to expand the project's scope to have participating schools grow fresh produce for their surrounding communities as well.

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