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Growing Food and Raising Farmers in the City

December 3rd, 2012 · 1 Comment

The Annex and Harbord Village considered for expansion

By Jessica Lemieux

It’s early on a Tuesday but already the hot sun is casting long shadows from the greenhouse over the field. The earlier in the day the better and the more tender the herbs will be. That way they will look and smell great to our customers.

The Calendula and Borage flowers are just starting to open as the bees from the nearby hives lazily jump from flower to flower. The hum of traffic from Sheppard and Keele just reach our ears as Caitlin Langlois Greenham and I harvest a multitude of herbs for selling, drying and processing. This morning is one of the many beautiful days at Sage Rising Herb Farm in Downsview Park.

Caitlin and I are urban organic herb farmers, growing for the Fresh City Farms food box and for local markets and stores. Neither of us have a strong background in traditional farming but rather, we have a love for growing and being close to the earth. The name of our farm reflects our desire for knowledge of recognition of the wisdom of growers in the past. Sage was the first herb we sold from our plot but also symbolizes wisdom that we are gaining (hence rising) through our business.

A bee lands on a Calendula flower at the Sage Rising Herb Farm in Downsview Park. PHOTO BY JANET DAVIS

What started as a dream has turned into a reality. I happened to have 3000 sq. ft. through Fresh City Farms to grow in but wasn’t sure what to grow yet. Caitlin casually commented one evening, while working on another project together, about a day dream she had of sitting in an herb farm soaking up the smell of lavender and thyme. From there we grew a small business and a fantastic partnership and friendship.

This coming season has new and exciting challenges including a new baby and job opportunities. We still love the business and want to continue to grow so we are reaching out to the Annex and Harbord Village communities for backyards in which to grow our herbs. Through conversations with the homeowner we will find a partnership agreement that allows us to continue growing closer to home (and still in partnership with Fresh City Farms) and build our business. Many of the herbs are perennial – so when we leave, the homeowner has the option of holding on to those herbs for their own use.

If you are interested in joining us on this journey as a homeowner with land please e-mail us at and check out our facebook page under Sage Rising Herbs.

Tags: Annex · Food

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Fresh City Farms | This Week On The Farm: Women Farmers // Jan 2, 2013 at 11:57 am

    […] In August, The Toronto Star published two articles: “Female farmers divulge secret of why they work the land” and “Young, city-born women buck Ontario’s aging farmer trend,” which gave credence to the trend we were experiencing at Fresh City. At Fresh City, 7 of our 13 farmers this past growing season were women, and many of them are taking their passion for the land, and skill at working it, one step further this coming year: Amy’s Red Pocket Farm and Jess and Caitlin’s Sage Rising Herb Farm.  […]