Working on the Toronto Rehab Urban Farm Project as a Senior Fellow of OpenLab, it has been especially rewarding to see my passion currently being considered by the University Health Network (UHN).
In the summer of 2018, together with the team at UHN, OpenLab finalized the business plan for a social enterprise that aims to improve patient’s transition from the hospital to their homes and community care. We use food as a tool to improve patients’ rehabilitation through gardening workshops, horticultural therapy and cooking and nutrition workshops. I’m proud to be a part of a program that combines both food literacy and mental health. Ryan, Eco-Ethonomics Founder and President, served as my coach throughout the process. I continue to work under his leadership as a part of the Eco-Ethonomics team today as an Intermediate Consultant.
The Toronto Rehab Urban Farm was the social enterprise concept that was developed over a period of 2 years by engaging 141 patients and hospital staff and researching 62 urban farm projects. It takes into consideration patient needs, staff needs, and the foreseeable needs of a partnering urban agriculture organization, which has yet to be identified. The concept looks like the image above.
The business plan was developed with an understanding that an enterprise needs to be able to operate independently without affecting any health care funding. Although the operation is self-sustaining, the model developed does rely on upfront philanthropic funding.
Eco-Ethonomics and OpenLab had the chance to present the Toronto Rehab Urban Farm concept at the European Health Care Design Conference, held at the prestigious Royal College of Physicians in London, UK, this past June. Check out our published white paper, Food and Medicine, Farm as Therapy.
I will also be presenting the project at Nutrition Resource Center’s 2018 Fall Forum: Unpacking Food Literacy, on November 15th, 2018. Check out the program here and to register click here. I hope to see you there and look forward to the many conversations I hope it will inspire.
The Toronto Rehab Urban Farm was funded by the Greenbelt Fund, McConnell Family Foundation’s Innoweave program, the University Health Network, the Toronto Rehab Foundation and the Ben and Hilda Katz Foundation.