Media Centre

Press Release – Thorncliffe Park food growing project: ripe for the picking

(TORONTO) August 20, 2013 – The Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee is about to harvest their first major crop of the summer; organic tomatoes, eggplants, hot peppers, okra, cucumbers and herbs are ripe for the picking at the community garden located at 35 Thorncliffe Park Drive on August 29, from 9 – 10 A.M.

This container gardening project in Thorncliffe Park focuses on an innovative method of growing healthy food, supported with community engagement and an aim to demonstrate and build the foundation for a local social enterprise based on sustainable food production.

In exchange for volunteering their time, participants gain direct access to fresh, local, nutritious produce from the shared harvest. Since June, ten local women have been directly engaged in planting, watering and maintaining the 50+ containers that make up this “instant garden.”

“We seek to empower women in Thorncliffe Park to believe they can make a difference in their community” explains Sabina Ali, the Coordinator for the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee, adding that this “is both a needed and viable project for Thorncliffe Park.”

To help maximize yields and gain gardening skills, the Committee has partnered with Verity Dimock, of The Growing Connection. Verity has trained the volunteers in the use of the EarthBox®, a highly space and water efficient system for growing vegetables.

“Daily, the women are collecting data about their harvest” explains Verity, “and we are learning together about the potential for a scalable community-based urban growing model.”

This containerized garden box is a great option for urban production and has been used with much success by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in more than 100 community and school gardens around the world; this project with the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee is the first adult community application in Canada.

“Our goal is to engage women in sustainable urban food production and to demonstrate potential for significant income generation for community members” explains Suzanne Karajaberlian with Summerhill, a local business who has partnered with the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee and Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office to deliver this project.

This project has been funded by the Home Depot Foundation of Canada, The McLean Foundation and Summerhill and is supported by Morguard properties.


For more information on the project, please contact:

Sabina Ali, Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office.

416-421-3054 ext 236,


About Thorncliffe Park:

Thorncliffe Park is the home to over 30,000 people, who live in 34 high rise buildings off one main street in an area that is approximately two square kilometers; it is densely populated and very diverse.