Always in season: urban agriculture stars

Learn to grow

workshops offered in 2014


people attended workshops in 2015


expert trainers available

How do you plan a garden? What is mead? How does my neighbour harvest fresh lettuce while there’s snow outside? If you’ve asked these questions and more, we have answers at FoodShare Academy. FoodShare Academy is a yearly set of workshops offering fun, practical, hands-on adult educational opportunities. Learn the basics of growing, preserving and composting with us.

Each workshop is led by a trained instructor with years of experience. We’re committed to sharing everything we’ve learned over the years so you can grow, eat and share with your community. You’ll leave each workshop with resources, tools, seeds and new friends.

FoodShare Academy Workshops:

Workshop Descriptions

Beginner Garden Planning: If you are new to vegetable gardening

Learn the fundamentals of organic growing that will help you to have a productive season whether you’re growing in your backyard or on a balcony. You’ll learn how the direction your garden faces influences which crops will grow best on your site, how to assess your soil quality, and when to plant different vegetables outdoors.

By the end of the workshop you’ll have everything you need to design your vegetable garden making the best use of space and taking advantage of the unique characteristics of your site.

You’ll have all the information you need to choose the right vegetables for your garden space. In preparation for the Seed Starting

Participants leave with resources (planting schedule guide, annotated bibliography, seeds etc) and garden plan.

Intermediate Garden Planning: Take your vegetable garden to the next level this year! This workshop will give you insight into plant families that can help you make your garden healthier and boost yields. Learn to make the most of limited space with interplanting, crop rotation and succession planting, and discover the benefits of companion planting.

You’ll leave the workshop with the tools to make a detailed planting schedule to maximize your garden’s productivity.

Prerequisite: ‘Beginner garden planning’ or previous vegetable gardening experience. Contact Angela ElzinaCheng (416 363 6441 ex 247 or if you are not sure if this workshop is right for you.

Participants leave with companion planting resources, succession planting schedule or plan/crop rotation plan and a design you created for your entire season, and a plan to make it happen.

Mead Making: Mead is honey wine and is the first alcoholic drink brewed, earlier than wine or beer. We will make a big batch, sample various brews, and talk about the finer points of mead and wine fermentation.

Seed Starting: Orlando Lopez and Liz Kirk will be teaching the techniques of seed starting - you will learn essential techniques for growing strong seedlings, make your own biodegradable, ready to plant seed starter pots, and take home a seed tray with potted seeds and seedlings. You will also receive vegetable seeds that you can plant in your garden.

Container Gardening: DIY Containers for balconies, patios, porches and backyards - Build your own low cost container for your balcony or backyard, leave with a self-watering container you built, seedlings, seeds, and learn how to grow your plants in containers for an abundant harvest!

We will have additional containers on hand for you to buy, and other great FoodShare resources to share.

Transplanting and Seeding: This workshop will teach you what you need to know to give your vegetable plants the best start possible. Keep your vegetable garden healthy and resilient by preventing plant stress!

Young seedlings are susceptible to transplant shock, and stressed plants are less productive and more likely to succumb to pests or disease. In this workshop, you’ll learn how give your plants the best start possible and to avoid common mistakes when planting seeds and transplanting seedlings that can weaken your plants and reduce your garden’s success.

We’ll cover how to choose the best seeds and transplants, how to maximize germination and reduce transplant shock, and how provide the proper support for your plants. You’ll also learn how to prepare your soil for planting and to choose the right amendments for your garden.

You will leave with seedlings, seeds and vermicompost to get your plants to a great start.

Vermicomposting: At this workshop, you will learn how to set up a home vermicomposting system, care for your worms, and harvest castings from your bin. You will go home with everything you need to begin worm composting at home: our home-grown red wrigglers, bins, coconut coir bedding, eggshells and finished worm castings.

Backyard Composting: Want to start that compost in your backyard, or you have a composter that you aren’t using? You will learn how to create compost that will enrich your soil quickly. Trouble shooting, a recipe for best practices, and no complaints from your fact they might just be jealous about your beautiful plants. You will have the opportunity to buy a backyard composter when you leave! Learn from our experts at FoodShare who compost over 300 pounds of fresh food scraps a day - in hot summer months, turning a banana into soil in one month! Even down to understanding the science behind it all, you will leave ready to build your own rich soil - and get problem solving help all summer.


Organic Pest Control: Got bugs on your balcony? Wilted plants in your yard? Join us as we explore organic pest management for food gardens with practical tips for creating lush and healthy gardens. You will learn about: Common pests in the garden, Organic pest control options, Importance of plant diversity for healthy gardens.

Season Extension: Earn the envy of your friends and neighbours as you continue to harvest fresh vegetables from your garden even when there is snow on the ground! In this workshop you will learn inexpensive ways to keep your garden productive longer, and to get a head start in the spring.

We’ll cover:
- how to choose crops that are well suited to growing in the shoulder seasons and through the winter
- how to time your plantings to extend your harvest (i.e. when to plant seeds so that they mature in time for harvest in winter)
- how to build and grow in a cold frame, as well as other cost-effective ways to keep your plants cosy in cold weather

Participants will take home seeds, and season extension resources. Participants will also have the opportunity to purchase a cold frame kit from FoodShare.

Putting the Garden to Bed: Give your garden the best possible start in 2016! Learn what to do to clean up your garden and prepare it for the next season so that you can hit the ground running in the spring.

You’ll learn techniques for eliminating weeds, and for reducing pest and disease pressure in your garden beds. We’ll look at how to mulch your garden, make effective use of fallen leaves and to incorporate soil amendments that will improve your soil quality.

Learn what should be pruned back or dug out, and which plants can be protected through the winter for a head start in the spring.

Participants will leave with resources.


Let us help you

Contact Jeanny Gonzalez if you have any question about this program.

Jeanny Gonzalez
Community Food Animation Senior Coordinator
416-363-6441 x280

Program Lead

Jeanny Gonzalez // Community Food Animation Senior Coordinator

Jeanny graduated from George Brown College's Community Service Worker program in 2012, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in the Philippines, and is a Certified Organic Master Gardener. Jeanny had been a member of the Bathurst Finch Network Steering Committee where she played a fundamental role in community grassroots initiatives and advocacy. She also played a...see full bio