Sudbury’s Flour Mill home to unique urban farm helping local youth

Published Aug. 23, 2020 8:44 a.m. ET
Updated Aug. 24, 2020 8:00 a.m. ET

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SUDBURY -- It's not everyday that you see a full farm right in the heart of the city. But food sovereignty advocates in Sudbury have brought one right to the heart of the city's Flour Mill community.

The Flour Mill Community Farm was first started about four years ago by the social planning council, with the goal of improving access to fresh, locally produced food.

"We also wanted to teach and inspire youth to be able to grow food and to give them employment experience, like little things like being able to come into work on time, teaching them resilience in various different ways, leadership roles," said Inga Kaletka, executive director of the farm.

Emilie Macphee is a student who works approximately 15 hours a week at the farm.

"Through my involvement I've learned many things this summer," said Macphee.

"I've learned about a whole new range of veggies and fruits. I've picked a whole bunch of stuff that I didn't even know existed. Just learning how to cultivate and garden in general really helped, I didn't really have that much experience."

It's not just the youth who have benefited from the learning experience.

One of the leaders of the garden is Jessica Jordison, who is going into her final year of studies of social work at Laurentian.

Recently moving to Sudbury full-time from Maintoulin Island, the job has been a great experience as she works towards finishing her degree.

"It's been so great," Jordison said.

"Even though I'm not a full social worker yet, to use my skills and get to learn more through the farm because the youth are learning so much, but I'm also learning so much from them."

Jordison said that throughout the season thus far, personal growth in the program's youth has been extraordinary.

"Honestly the youth have done so well," said Jordison.

"From their first day, they were a lot more reserved and they've opened up so much throughout the summer and I can say that each and every one of them, I can pick out a specific moment that I've seen growth in them."

An independent evaluator From Lakehead University will be looking into the program's work over the last three years.

That report is expected to be released ahead of summer 2021.

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