Being a gardener and farmer is good medicine for winter blues. When I am fed up with the cold and grey days, I peek at my indoor garden full of hopeful seedlings, and I remember that Sage Rising was born on just such a grey day. In the deep reaches of February 2012, Jessica Lemieux and I dreamed of the warm, aromatic summer breezes of an herb farm. It was a winter dream, which turned into a perennial journey that has deepened my relationships with the land, with herbs, and with people who are passionate about creating sustainable, community-based food systems. Sage Rising, once a tiny dream-seed, has grown into a thriving evergreen, reaching towards the sun and keeping the dream of spring alive all winter long!
As I wait for the ground to thaw so I can plant the seeds for Sage Rising’s third season, I feel as if I am sitting at the edge of a new stage for the farm.
I will miss working with Jess, who dedicated immense time and heart to Sage Rising and who gave me the gift of spending time with baby Finn in our gardens. Yet I am mindful as well that in nature, edges are fertile and diverse places. This edge I am at is an opportunity for growth. Stepping forward to take the helm will allow me to make Sage Rising more sustainable by adapting it to flow with the other aspects of my life.
It’s a hopeful and powerful moment to grow food in Toronto, and I’m so excited that Sage Rising is a part of it! Urban farming and community gardening networks are growing every day at an amazing pace. Urban growers are meeting through knowledge-sharing groups, farm incubator projects, and advocacy organizations – groups like Toronto Urban Growers, Food Forward, Afri-Can Food Basket, Fresh City Farms, Toronto Farmers, Everdale, FarmStart, FoodShare, Toronto Food Policy Council, and Toronto Youth Food Policy Council. Farmers and gardeners are organizing collectively, supporting every step of the development of the Toronto Urban Agriculture Program, which was adopted by City Council last November (yay!).
At the edge of spring, I am energized by the opportunities for growth, connection, and adaptation that are emerging. I am looking forward to working close to home with volunteers and yard-sharing neighbours to once again offer organically grown fresh herbs and handmade herbal body products produced in Sage Rising’s backyard-based urban gardens (learn more about Sage Rising’s herbs and herbal products here). I am also excited to be working with partners to develop participatory workshops on growing and using herbs, urban farming, and permaculture (more on that soon!). Moreover, I am inspired by the growth of urban farming and community food movements and I look forward to where the journey takes us next!
You can contact me (Caitlin) at firstname.lastname@example.org to join Sage Rising’s volunteer mailing list or just to say hello.