At the corner of Jane and Steeles, tucked between York University and Toronto’s Jane-Finch neighbourhood, Black Creek Community Farm (BCCF) is using local food to fuel a social justice movement. Launched in July 2013, BCCF is the largest urban farm in Toronto, growing over 60 kinds of crops, including amaranth, squash, root vegetables and a variety of peppers, on 2.8 hectares of land rented from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

BCCF’s location in Jane-Finch is vital to its mission. Nearly three-quarters of this community’s population are visible minorities and more than one-third of residents live in low-income housing. Jane-Finch has been marginalized and stigmatized for decades by high crime rates and socioeconomic challenges. As a collaborative and immersive educational project, BCCF aims to provide affordable, healthy and culturally appropriate food to Jane-Finch residents while also addressing the challenges facing this neighbourhood.

BCCF is run by Everdale, a not-for-profit farmer-training organization, in collaboration with FoodShare Toronto, Afri-Can Food Basket and Fresh City Farms. Everdale’s mission is to use a hands-on, farm-based approach to building healthy communities. Launching a farm at Jane and Finch has helped tie social justice to local food: BCCF aims to address food insecurity in the neighbourhood not only by providing access to fresh produce, but by making community members central to the farm’s direction and operations. BCCF also serves as a space to tackle racism and oppression in the food system and sees local food as a key component to addressing both issues. 

At time of press, A\J was notified that the relationship between Everdale and BCCF is in flux. We will provide online updates as more information becomes available.

Genevieve is earning her master's degree in Environmental Studies at York University with a focus on sustainable food systems, food education and food literature. In The Mouthful, she blogs about the environmental politics and possibilities of food. Genevieve is a certified pastry chef and aspiring novelist. She lives in Toronto. @GFullan

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