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Cultivate Toronto Annual Report 2012 | 1

welcome to Cultivate Toronto ... It all started in 2009, when Christopher Wong and Elaine Howarth, two recent university graduates, met at a local Toronto farmer’s market. They had discussed the need for a locally-grown food system within our city’s borders and had agreed that Toronto would benefit from a network of community shared agriculture programs (CSA) within its own borders. It was then that Christopher and Elaine, two Young Urban Farmers, decided to create a communitybased CSA (Young Urban Farmers CSA).


As the organization developed and garnered more community interest, people began asking, how “young” do I need to be a “young urban farmer”? We quickly realized that our name needed to be more inclusive of everyone, regardless of age, who wanted to participate. As the organization aimed to cultivate both food growth and community action around Toronto we decided that Cultivate Toronto was a name that encompassed who we were and more importantly who we want to be.


YOUNG URBAN FARMERS community shared agriculture

2009 1


Young Urban Farmer CSA





To mark this significant change for the organization, Cultivate Toronto held a launch party on May 17th, 2012 at the Centre for Social Innovation in the Annex. This was a great opportunity to thank our members, volunteers and interns and introduce this new path for Cultivate Toronto. The event was well attended and guests were able to take home seedlings, to cultivate their own gardens. Cultivate Toronto is continuing to thrive throughout Toronto and this rebranding has been a significant driver. We appreciate our Young Urban Farmers CSA roots and look forward to seeing all that Cultivate Toronto will become.

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message from our founders ... This year began with Young Urban Farmers CSA, and became Cultivate Toronto. It wasn’t long ago that we came together as young urban farmers to make a positive change in our city, and at the time, Young Urban Farmers CSA was a great name. It described exactly who we were at the time, most of the organization was made up of new graduates looking for meaningful change. We witnessed the disconnect between the food available at supermarkets and the struggle of Canadian farmers to make a living. We had read about the environmental degradation, livestock abuse and greenhouse gases caused by the agro-industrial system. We saw the rise of food security as a major issue internationally, and in our own backyard. We wanted to change the system in a tangible, hands-on, get our hands dirty, kind of way. The concept was simple. There is so much space to grow food here in the city, in parks, hydro corridors, undeveloped areas/brownfields, rooftops and front/backyards. Instead of being a burden on Toronto’s food system, we wanted to be active participants who would contribute to the system. We were young (at heart), we were urban, and we represented a new generation of eaters concerned about where our food came from and how it was grown and distributed.

cultivate community. As such, Cultivate Toronto seemed like the natural choice. It is a name that represents us perfectly and one that we are proud of.

We planted the foundation of our vision in the spring of 2010, and by 2012 we were moving forward, establishing strong roots that would support new programs, including an internship program to train new urban farmers and opportunities for individuals to develop skills that contribute to a growing community. We also realized that the energy of our youth-based organization was great, however we wanted to create a food system based on community and realized that including other generations would only make us stronger. Thus, we needed a new name that would represent all aspects of who we are and what we hope to achieve. We cultivate the land, we cultivate individual growth, and we

Christopher Wong & Elaine Horwath

With our new name leading the way, we hope to take Cultivate Toronto (CTO) to the next level. This year we’ve opened a new hub, converted new backyards into urban farms, and are growing one of the first rooftop gardens in Toronto being farmed at the community level. Similarly, we’ve been hard at work developing the organization as a whole. We’ve established new positions of responsibilities and have appointed members from diverse professional backgrounds to our new Board of Directors. Together, we are working on a sustainable and strategic plan for the future, revising our mission and vision statements to better reflect our direction. Our roots continue to be in urban food production, but our scope will continue to grow and evolve to better serve our community. From all of us at CTO, thank you for your continued support, and we look foward to cultivating new opportunities next year!

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quantifying our garden produce


our operations ... At the core of our operations are the gardens and the land base upon which we farm and grow all of the produce for our CSA program. Since our inception, we made the decision not to source any vegetables outside of our gardens and this philosophy continues to this day. While this can add greater variability to the output and volume of produce that we grow, we were fortunate to be able to reap a bountiful harvest from all of our neighbourhood hubs.

To quantify the amount of produce each garden produced, we invested in a digital scale and notebook for each of our garden hubs. Hub coordinators then weigh the harvested produce from the gardens each week before distributing to our CSA members. From this data, we’re excited to be able to analyze how well each garden performed from week to week, as well as how bountiful different crop families have been during the 2012 growing season. The data will also be used in assessing how well the gardens are performing in future years. We are proud to announce that 947 kilograms of produce were produced across all gardens during the 2012 growing season.

Dovercourt East York Wychwood Total

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one of our bountiful gardens 7

our vegetables ... 2012 was a good farming year for Cultivate Toronto. Our CSA program ran for 18 weeks in both the Dovercourt and East York hubs. In the Wychwood hub, our CSA program ran for a total of 17 weeks. Our tomatoes and hot crops produced bountifully well into October, beans and kale were plentiful as expected, and we

continued our relationship with our friends at the World Crops project, growing a variety of ethnic vegetables including Asian eggplant, okra, fuzzy melon, and Chinese hot red peppers, to name just a few of the varieties.

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our 2012 neighbourhood hubs WYCHWOOD HUB Landsharers: 5 Shareholders: 9 Total Production: 224.5 kg

DOVERCOURT HUB Landsharers: 4 Shareholders: 8 Total Production: 292.4 kg


EAST YORK HUB Landsharers: 6 Shareholders: 14 Total Production: 430.2 kg

our garden hub ... At the beginning of the season, the executive team made the difficult decision to suspend regular operations of our Lawrence Park North hub. This was due to a number of factors including lower than average yields from the gardens in that region, and a preference to keep hubs in close proximity to one another for ease of operations, as we plan for sustainable growth. As a result, we opened up a new hub in the Dovercourt neighbourhood. Bounded by the streets of Bloor and Dupont in the north and south, as well as Christie and Dufferin in the East and West, this hub was comprised of three new gardens, including an especially large backyard garden on Gladstone Ave. In Wychwood, one new garden was added within this especially narrow geographic area. In the East York/Riverdale hub, we saw the number of gardens double from three to six gardens. We also partnered with the Big Carrot to utilize some of their new green rooftop space for us to use to grow a number of our crops.

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Susan Hay from Global TV with us in the garden!


our people ...

Team cohesion is an important value within Cultivate Toronto. In addition to the land base upon which all our food is grown, the work of CTO would not be possible without the tireless effort and commitment from all of our garden volunteers including the Hub Coordinators, interns, and gardeneers (garden volunteers). This season, we welcomed back hub coordinators Jen and Kate in the East York/Riverdale and Wychwood hubs respectively; in the new Dovercourt hub, Mike joined the ever-growing CTO team in coordinating the gardens. Team cohesion is an important value within Cultivate Toronto. As a 100% volunteer-run non-profit, we found that one of the most effective ways to keep everyone motivated, committed, and engaged is to plan group activities that don’t involve any gardening whatsoever! In 2012, we organized a DIY screenprinting party, which is when we created our first ever Cultivate Toronto t-shirts and bandanas. We also christened our new rooftop space at the Big Carrot with a potluck dinner. Repeating popular events from 2011, we returned to Dufferin Grover Park for a campfire and Toronto Island for a picnic, and as usual we celebrated the end of the season with a thank-you party in October.

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some of our dedicated gardeneers!


our internship program ...

During the 2012 growing season, we also offered our urban farming internship program for the second time. Using feedback from our 2011 graduates, we made small changes to the structure and curriculum while keeping the program’s core purpose in mind: for young people to learn food growing skills in the city! Our interns juggled their school and work responsibilities with our weekly schedule, gardening on one weekday evening as well as Sunday afternoons. From April to October, Cultivate Toronto internship participants started seeds, prepared beds, built garden structures, transplanted seedlings, fertilized, watered, trellised and staked, pruned, weeded, managed pests, maintained soil health, and harvested produce. In this second year of the program, we grew from eight to thirteen young people participating in the internship: five in Wychwood, three in Riverdale/East York, and five in the brand new Dovercourt hub. “I came into the program knowing next to nothing about plants and agriculture and came out feeling knowledgeable, confident, and ready to learn more next season.” Riona, 2012 internship participant, Riverdale/East York hub




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ClimateSpark- Winner of the Green Innovation Award

As with previous years, 2012 was not without any new projects and collaborations. One of the notable projects of 2012 was working with the EarthBox® - a self-watering container garden that we were able to use on both the rooftop of the Big Carrot as well as in one of our Dovercourt gardens. These boxes were sponsored by The Growing Connection, and we provided feedback on how well the boxes worked throughout the season. Despite a bit of a later start in getting the boxes and getting them planted, the boxes produced well, required minimal maintenance, and proved to be an alternative solution to growing on a rooftop if a dedicated growing area isn’t already established.

In December 2011, Cultivate Toronto (operating as Young Urban Farmers CSA), was named as one of the finalists in the ClimateSpark Social Venture Challenge. The finalists each presented a 5-minute pitch to a panel of investors representing various granting agencies, angel investors, and venture capitalist firms. As a result of winning the Green Innovation Award, Cultivate Toronto secured $10,000 of funding.

Looking back on 2012, it’s exciting to see how much food we produced despite our relatively short growing season. We’re excited to have the opportunity to make farming and locallygrown food accessible in the city. This success is made possible by amazing support of our land-sharers, shareholders, hub coordinators, interns and volunteers. As 2012 comes to a close, we’re excited to see what new projects and innovations 2013 will bring our way.


We used the funds to make investments in equipment as well as for materials to improve the quality and output of our gardens. Our big equipment investment of the season was the purchase of a new rototiller. This will aid us in the tilling of new and returning gardens, provide greater flexibility in timing when we are able to break ground on new gardens, and save us money in the long term as we will not have to rely on rentals in the future.

HiveWire-Regent Park Rooftop Garden

Growing our board

In November 2012, Cultivate Toronto partnered with the Centre for Social Innovation and HiveWire for the launch of a new crowdfunding platform – CSI Catalyst. We reached out to the public and raised funds to start a rooftop garden in Regent Park. We offered a variety of rewards for supporting our campaign at various levels, including t-shirts, seedlings, and produce grown in our gardens. After a 33-day campaign, we successfully raised over $2500 to purchase the starting materials for a rooftop garden.

Over the past 3 years Cultivate Toronto has grown from a notfor-profit start-up into a recognized not-for profit organization with increased structure and resources. To ensure sufficient guidance and governance we recruited additional board members with specific strengths in mind: financial, marketing and board governance. After an extensive search we welcomed three new board members - Sheila Kornhauser, Whelena Sainsbury and Jeremy Sage. Sheila brings extensive marketing, brand development and strategic planning experience to the board as well as a passion for gardening and helping Torontonians make healthy food choices. With experience in board governance, marketing and organizational strategy, Whelena Sainsbury brings an understanding of Toronto’s green movement to the board, paired with a desire to see more Torontonians enjoying the bounty of locally grown food. Jeremy Sage provides strong financial and analytical skills and is committed to spreading awareness about sustainable living in the city. These new members complement our returning board members, Stella Woo, Chris Wong (chair) and Elaine Howarth (vice chair). The first major undertaking of the board was a review of our vision and the development of an updated strategic plan. We have updated our mission statement to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of the people we serve while introducing new entrants to the local food arena. The updated strategic plan will ensure that Cultivate Toronto remains focused on its core mission and that the successes of our early stages will endure as we continue to fill the baskets of Torontonians with local food. With our new strategic foundation the board is looking forward to leading Cultivate Toronto toward achieving even greater successes in the future.

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thank you ... PARTNERS Green Valley Farms

For greenhouse space, expert growing advice, and horse manure. Hillesum Farm

For farming expertise and horse manure. The Big Carrot

For use of their rooftop space.

GRANTS The Big Carrot’s Carrot Cache ClimateSpark Social Venture Challenge


thank you ... DONORS


Whether they support us financially, share their yard space, or support us in another way, our donors are an integral part of our organization.

Without our volunteers, Cultivate Toronto would not be able to continue growing fresh, quality produce within the City.

George Adler Leila Alexander Mia Andrews Asier Ania Helen Apostolopoulos Ariana Ayoub Brent Barron Evan Bell David Birch Angela Bischoff Malcolm Brooks Andrea Chan Christopher Charlesworth Calvin Cheng Lissa Cowan Jennifer Dahan Marc Demers Erica Duque Alissa Hamilton Cindy Hart Brendan Heath Hwan Hong Anna Kazmierska Ursula Kodlinsky

Aishwaraya Babu Evan Bell Erica Bernhardt Melshean Boardman Diana Bosworth Madeline Boyce Martha Burn Andrea Chan Iris Chan Ken Chan Peter Ciurczak Jane Collison Andrea Cupelli Sarah Dopp Tahlia Dyer Nevena Gazibara Fiona Green Cindy Hart Mike Hatch Elaine Howarth Sheila Kornhauser David Livingston-Lowe Jing Loh

Sheila Kornhauser Stephen Kotowych Alex and Brad Krawczyk Jenn Kucharczyk Jeff Krystie Tim Lampman Theresa Laurico Marie-Josee Levesque David Livingston-Lowe Jane Macdonald Leslie McBay Michael Medved Frank Meighlal Tamara Ohori Tassanee Payakapan Jared Peck Vinita Puri Richards Medina Robbins Simone Rousseau Sandy Ruth Schonblum Jen Shea Kevin Taylor Lysa Toye

Georgiana Uhlyarik Irene Vandertop Martha Wendt John Lincoln White Wayne Wong Suzanne Wyman Charlotte Young Nathalie Younglai Anonymous donor Anonymous donor Anonymous donor

Sarah MacLean Siobhan McAuley Karen Nguyen Erik Nissan Sarah Plummer Emma Point Haley Polinsky Keidi Pushi Kate Raycraft Jessica Reeve Jeremy Sage Whelena Sainsbury Kim Schultz Jen Shea Morgan Shuker Katie Switzer Riona Telford Christina Wong Christopher Wong Stella Woo Linda Yarow

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get involved ... How to get involved with Cultivate Toronto 1.

Share your yard

We are looking for sunny yards and rooftops (minimum 500 sq. ft.) in the Dovercourt, Wychwood, and East York areas. Please also contact us if you and your neighbours want Cultivate Toronto to come to your community! Visit or email for more details on how to get involved and start eating fresh, locally-grown food this summer.


Financial Support

Help Cultivate Toronto grow by donating through PayPal or contact to set up financial or in-kind support. With your help, we plan to increase our operations across Toronto and purchase equipment and tools to keep us in the gardens!


Volunteer with us

Talk to us about how you can spend more time in our gardens, right in the heart of Toronto. Email us at or visit us at to learn more.


Spread the Word!

Speak to your family, neighbours and friends about the benefits of urban farming and spread a good thing!




Unrealizable Losses


$2554.24 $7869.31


$142.20 $12.28 $154.48 $8652.94


$302.00 $20.16 $322.16

Web & IT Hosting Fee Software & Applications Domain Name Total Web & IT Expense


$500.00 $17.93 $517.93

$3,150 to $5,925

$55.08 $359.75 $308.41 $475.00 $1,035.68 $297.92 $2531.84


Marketing Printing Event Registrations Flyers/Banners T-Shirts Special Events Promotions Total Marketing Expense


$29.47 $76.82 $106.29


$210.03 $153.65 $363.68

$181.98 $164.83 $257.17 $810.00 $940.00 $385.08 $2739.06


Human Resources Intern Gifts Socials Other Costs Total HR Expense

$51.25 $20.58 $29.30 $810.00 $509.00 $302.38 $1722.51

SG&A Banking Fees Office Supplies Meals & Entertainment Insurance Monthly Meeting Rent Management Fees Other Costs Total SG&A Expense


$100.00 $188.67 $288.67


$231.72 $231.72


Venue Rental Workshop Materials Total Workshop Expense



$431.34 $915.50 $1376.51 $823.80 $90.00 $1243.92 $214.15 $169.50 $5264.72

$3150.00 $120.00 $4000.00 $2500.00 $1500.00 $200.00 $200.00 11670.00

$5925.00 $77.25 $10500.00 $20.00 16522.25

$252.20 $892.00 $870.00 $843.69 $352.82 $270.32 $3481.03




Total Operational Expense

Transplants R&D - Soil Testing Soil Gas Interest Expense Materials Equipment Equipment Rental




Unit Sales Farmer’s Market Grant Funding Sponsorship Funding Gardening Fee Funding Land-sharer Funding Individual Donations Other Revenue TOTAL REVENUE


Unaudited Income Statement - For the year ended December 31, 2012

Financial Highlights (From 2011 to 2012):

our financials ... GRANT


of Total Revenues



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2012 cto annual report  
2012 cto annual report