Urban Agriculture

Urban Agriculture

Ecosource’s Urban Agriculture program supports the community in learning about local food, through hands-on experiences like growing, harvesting, preserving, and cooking with. We offer education opportunities at the Iceland Teaching Garden, at Ecosource’s Community Hub, in the community, and virtually. Grow your field-to-table skills with Ecosource!

Spotlight on the Healthy Roots: Empowering Youth Food Leaders in Mississauga Project

This project supports the improvement of health outcomes of culturally diverse youth by providing the transferrable skills, hands-on experience and sense of agency required to grow, cook, eat, and share a wide variety of healthy, culturally appropriate foods that meet their diverse needs.  

Project activities include:  

  1. Engaging youth in farm-to-table programming at our urban farm and teaching kitchen that empowers them in making-decisions over their food, where it comes from and how it sustains individual and environmental health and well-being. 
  1. Collaboration with local organizations and food banks to engage youth in environmental initiatives that support community food access.  
  1. Mentorship and leadership opportunities that support youth in developing the confidence and skills to contribute to environmental action within the community.  

In support of this project, Ecosource gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Novo Nordisk Diabetes & Obesity Fund at the Community Foundation of Mississauga, a registered charitable public foundation serving the people of Mississauga. 

Growing for Our Good

Join your community in helping to grow organic food for local food banks and the community.The Growing for Our Good program will build your skills in organic and sustainable urban food production through hands-on education at the Iceland Teaching Garden. There will be space to learn, share knowledge, and have fun! Volunteers are welcome to attend one or multiple sessions. Each session will focus on different sustainable cultivation techniques, soil building strategies, and food system issues.This program is FREE and open to all in our community.Adults, youth, children and families are welcome to attend. Participants aged 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.This is a great opportunity to complete high school volunteer hours!To find out more or volunteer, contact dhove@ecosource.ca.

The Iceland Teaching Garden

The Iceland Teaching Garden is the feature site of the Peel Local Food Literacy in Action project. It is a 15,000 square-foot urban food growing space modeled after a small-scale market garden. The site is organized as a demonstration garden in four quadrants with 4-foot wide in-ground beds and is cultivated following organic principles that focus on soil health, ecosystem well-being, and biodiversity. We employ season extension techniques to enable the production of late fall and early spring salad greens and other cold hardy crops. The garden is located along Jan’s Trail in the park behind Iceland Arena.

Get Involved at our Iceland Teaching Garden!

At Ecosource we believe that getting people outside and getting their hands in the dirt is an integral part of encouraging environmentally aware citizens. The Iceland Teaching Garden is planted and maintained by community volunteers and local youth working collectively.

The Peel Local Food Literacy in Action project provides training and support to volunteers, as well as school field trips for local schools. Gardening workshops, planting projects, and field trips provide students, community groups, and corporate groups with the opportunity for hands-on learning about gardening, ecosystems, native plants, and environmental stewardship. They are also a great way to share a team-building, fun experience while giving back to the community.

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Visit Us

Iceland Teaching Garden
705 Matheson Boulevard East
Mississauga, ON

The Peel Local Food Literacy in Action project is made possible by the generosity of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Young Urban Growers

The Iceland teaching Garden hosts the Young Urban Growers, an urban agriculture and social enterprise skills training program for youth. This group meets to learn about and discuss food and urban agriculture topics, work together to grow produce and cook-up their food transformation skills. Each year, they bring their learning and skills together to create youth-led projects that help raise awareness of the importance of local food.

Click on the projects below to read about what youth have worked on over the years.

This initiative engages youth in using smartphones to share stories about the physical, social, cultural and mental health impacts of growing food and giving back to the community. Ecosource worked closely with a group of youth from the Forest Glen neighbourhood to showcase the experiences of community gardeners, that of local partner organizations, and their own personal stories. The youth volunteers attended weekly sessions from May to October 2022 that focused on gaining hands-on experience with growing food and garden stewardship, while developing their videography and interview skills. Youth learnt about food justice through field trips to other community gardens and food banks, and by participating in trainings.

At the end of the project, friends, families, volunteers, gardeners, and partner organizations were able to gather and watch the wonderful digital creations at an outdoor screening event at the Forest Glen Community Garden. In addition, the youth’s digital creations will be shared through art installations at various community garden sites across Mississauga (expected May 2023). Read on to discover the digital stories created by the youth.

The Digital Stories from the Ground Up Project is made possible through the generous support of the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation.

What is food justice, and why is it important? These are some of the questions that Liz asks Vesna, who is a community gardener. This video shows all the luscious fruits and veggies that are growing in her garden, as well as some tips and tricks shared for new gardeners. Video created and edited by Liz.

Through our field trip to Churchill Meadows Community Garden, Laaiba interviews Carol, who is a long-time cultivator. Carol shares her experiences with gardening and why it’s important. Laaiba also interviews her mother, where she shares her own experiences with gardening and cooking with the crops that she grows. Video created and edited by Laaibah.

Anjali has been gardening for 20 years ever since she came to Canada from India. Her experiences with growing have changed from flowers and houseplants, to fruits and vegetables. Anjali shares the importance of growing pollinator plants. What happens when there are critters eating at your garden? Tune into this digital story to find out more. Video created and edited by Tenzin.

This is Reema’s first time growing at the Churchill Meadows Community Garden. Rafia and Smmaviah capture Reema’s trials and tribulations, as she gives us a tour of the plants that she is growing in her garden. Video created and edited by Rafia and Smmaviah.

Sofia captures the personal experience of one of our Forest Glen Youth Cultivator volunteers – Liz! Liz shares their experiences on how they got into gardening. Viewers get the chance to see what’s growing in the community plot at Forest Glen Community Garden. Video created and edited by Sofia.

What happens when you donate fresh produce to The Mississauga Food Bank? How does the food bank work? Jadel interviews Chris, a long time volunteer at The Mississauga Food Bank. Chris provides suggestions on how you can support, and ways you can donate. Video created and edited by Jadel.

As youth, we have a right to good food. In the summer of 2021, we worked with our Ecosource youth volunteers to create our very first Youth-Led Food Rights Declaration! We came together through virtual brainstorming sessions to envision and call for an equitable and just food system in the Region of Peel.

Click here to read the document.

When asked “What does food mean to you?” and “What do you want food systems to look like in the future?” members of the Young Urban Growers rallied together to explore these questions creatively through a zine. Click here to check out their zine.

Wanting a break from gardening, youth took some time to cook their favourite dishes and showcase their culture using tomatoes from the Iceland Teaching Garden. Check out their video on our Instagram page to see how they like to eat tomatoes.

There are many ways you can be an environmentalist from your kitchen! Check out our Instagram page for sustainable cooking tips and recipes put together by youth.

Want tips on how to grow, maintain and harvest plants in your garden? See below the gardening videos created and edited by youth.


Picking, Cleaning, and Curing Garlic

Youth created resources for action tips on food waste as supplementary materials to our pilot episode of Plug in to Grow, where we explored ideas around a circular economy.

Food Waste Blog post

Food Waste Infographic 

At one of our end-of-year reflections, youth identified there were very few platforms created and lead by youth, for youth on the topic of urban agriculture. A group of youth decided to come together to create the Plug in To Grow podcast. This podcast explores the people, stories, and drivers that are shaping local food, urban agriculture, and sustainability in Peel.In 2020, the podcast team took their leadership further by hosting workshops for other youth interested in creating their own podcast. Listen to the Plug in To Grown Podcast here or on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher. 

Over the summer of 2019, six youth took the stage at the Brampton Farmers’ Market to showcase their cooking skills. They used the mornings to shop the market, meet farmers and learn more about local food. After their shopping trips, they did recipe demos on stage for market shoppers to learn how to cook with different ingredients that were available at the market that day. While they were cooking, they had conversations about their food experiences, thoughts, and hopes with Celebrity Chef Jason Rosso from J. Red & Co. in Brampton.

At the Iceland Teaching Garden, volunteers learned about citizen science and the role it can play in sustainability. Using iNaturalist, they tracked biodiversity in and around the Iceland Teaching Garden to explore how gardens and green spaces affect biodiversity in the city. After a few months of being citizen scientists, they created a workshop and travelled to our community gardens all across Mississauga to teach gardeners about citizen science. Check out our group on iNaturalist. We’re called youngurbangrowers.

After a year of planting, weeding, and harvesting veggies, youth wanted to share all they had learned with the community. A group of youth shared their stories and helped Ecosource write the Grown In Mississauga Training Manual – a step-by-step gardening book for new growers. Read it here.

Wanting to flex their social enterprise skills, a group of youth grew specialty herbs at the Iceland Teaching Garden and partnered with Studio.89 to use their kitchen space to create value-added products such as herb salts and pesto. These products were taken to local farmers’ markets where youth were able to engage with the community and sell their creations.