The annual potato harvest, hosted by TMU’s Urban Farm, was still a success despite the lack of student turnout according to organizers, and approximately 200 pounds of potatoes were harvested.
The Urban farm hosted its annual potato workshop this Wednesday, Sept. 27, where attendees picked the potatoes which have been growing on top of the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre since the spring.
A member of the public and three staff members of the Urban Farm did all the harvesting this year, which was a change from last year, which saw a nearly sold-out event with a student-dominated turnout, according to Ines Lacarne, the farm’s field engagement coordinator.
The maximum number of students and members of the public who can sign up for their workshops is eight. This is to ensure there are sufficient resources for facilitators to provide attention to all participants, deliver a quality experience and, also guarantees that there is enough supplies for everyone to take something home, according to Lacarne.
The potatoes were planted on the rooftop garden in May by TMU field apprentice program students. Harvesters got to bring some potatoes home, and the rest will possibly be sold to Oakham Cafe and TMU Eats, and to attendees of the local Gould Street farmers market.
In addition to the members of the farm’s staff, Julia Neves, a Toronto local, was in attendance. Neves has recently discovered her passion for agriculture and has signed up for all the workshops at the farm this fall.
Neves said she believes that learning to grow your own food is an important skill to learn.
“Even if you don’t have a backyard, at least do something on your balcony or at least have the knowledge just in case you need it. I think it’s such a basic knowledge that everyone should have,” Neves said.
The beginning of the fall semester brings many opportunities for students to get involved with the farm, according to Jess Russell, the farm’s operation coordinator.
“I think it’s just such a nice break for them to get their hands dirty, and it’s therapeutic,” Russell said.
In addition, the workshops provide participants the opportunity to spend time outdoors.
“I think there is limited opportunities for people to spend time outside, meeting new people, and kind of feeling that sense of community on campus and doing activities that are more outdoor focused, so this is a way for students to get that,” Lacarne said.
The Urban Farm hosts weekly workshops until Oct. 27, some of which are already sold out. Upcoming opportunities include garlic planting and a compost workshop.