Urban Roots is a non-profit organization that revitalizes underused land in the City of London for agriculture by:
We are committed to growing fresh vegetables for those who may not otherwise be able to enjoy them. We are also committed to setting our project up in a way that is self-sustaining over the long term. These two goals are met with our mixed model: we both sell and donate what we grow.
Our goal is to sell enough of our beautiful, organically grown produce to cover our operating costs, and to donate everything else. In our pilot season of 2017, we were able to donate around 40% of what we harvested to the Men’s Mission and Y.O.U.
This year we have committed to a “model of thirds”, which demonstrates our willingness to sell LESS than 33% of our production at full price, but never more. The “affordable third” is another important way we hope to further improve access to fresh, healthy, organic food, by selling at a discounted rate in our neighbourhood.
In the short-term, we continue to raise funds and apply for grants, but once the project is a few seasons in and well established, we hope it will survive on its own sales to support the rest of our model.
A big part of what makes Urban Roots London work is the many generous volunteers who have given their spare time to help prepare a vegetable bed, plant a row of beets, or pull what sometimes feels like an endless supply of thistle. As a volunteer board, we are humbled and very grateful for this support!
We now have official volunteer evenings in place EVERY WEEK until the season is over. Unless there is heavy rainfall or a thunderstorm warning we will have a volunteer leader on the farm with a list of tasks that need to be done Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights from 6:30 pm until sundown!
Please do not hesitate to bring a friend. Many hands make light work. 🙂 You are welcome to bring your own gardening tools, but we also have some of our own available. We recommend that you bring water and clothes/footwear that you don’t mind getting dirty.
Keep your eye on our social media pages for one-time planting, harvesting, and weekend volunteer opportunities.
See you all soon!
Graham Bracken is a writer whose work focuses on problems relating to ecology and climate change.
Heather Bracken is a criminal defence attorney with a passion for the community and fresh, local food.
Richie Bloomfield is a business instructor at Huron University College, who just happened to have grown up on a farm.
Jeremy Horrell has worked in social services for over 15 years. He founded the Forest City Family project and is passionate about community, healthy relationships, and lifelong connections with fresh healthy food.
Thank you to those of you who attended our 2017 Harvest Dinner! It was a beautiful night of celebrating our first season and we’re so grateful for the overwhelming support of the sold out crowd. Curtis Justrabo Photography captured these beautiful photos (and many more available on our Facebook – thanks to him for providing his services!
We look forward to welcoming you all again in 2018!
We are raising the initial funds for startup costs, property, seeds, and growing supplies. We are pursuing grant opportunities and intend for the farms to be self-sustaining. For now, however, we appreciate your support in helping us get this exciting project off the ground!