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Part 1: Having an (urban) farm-tastic time!

Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day when-I’m-not-doing-some-gardening-on-the-Green-Rooooooof.

That’s how the song goes right? No? Well, ok.

I guess the best place to get started is by introducing myself. So, hello! My name is Emily, and I’m a Communications Officer for the Office of the Registrar at Ryerson University. When I’m not busy in-office sending you emails, designing and ordering print materials or editing content I’m working out during my lunch breaks at the Recreation and Athletics Centre or taking a stroll through the Quad. As a graduate from the Graphic Communications Management program I was super involved as a student, and I wanted to look for new ways to get involved in our community as a stuff member.

Taking care of my ever-growing collection of house plants wasn’t quite satisfying my gardening desires. Yes, I care greatly about my cacti and snake plants, but it’s just not the same! Enter the Ryerson Urban Farm.

What is the Ryerson Urban Farm (RUF), you ask?

In their own words, the RUF “operates productive growing spaces across the Ryerson University campus using ecological growing methods. [Their] operations incorporate educational programming for [the] surrounding community on campus and beyond.” The RUF has several gardens across campus, but their main space is located on the Andrew and Valerie Pringle Environmental Green Roof above the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre.

The RUF depends on volunteers from both the Ryerson and surrounding Toronto communities to help maintain these gardens, and make beautiful and tasty things grow!

After attending a mandatory volunteer meet and greet where I learned about safety, and what the Ryerson Urban Farm does, I signed myself up for a shift.

Cue the rain. Lots and lots and lots of rain. So much rain.

Geared-up and ready to tackle Toronto’s recent never-ending rainfall I headed up to the roof of the engineering building to start my shift. The first thing we did was some weeding. The gardens the RUF looks after are all organic, so no pesticides are used to keep those pesky weeds away. To keep everything looking neat and tidy this job is important!

ezgif-1-3346529036Shake that dirt off those weeds!

While weeding away and attempting to stay as waterproof as possible I met Kate, a Ryerson Biology student. Despite being in her second year, Kate has been volunteering with the RUF for three years! I decided to ask her why she joined the group:

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I wanted to get to know Ryerson students before starting my first year, and make friends. There’s so many volunteer opportunities here!Kate, Biology Student and RUF volunteer

I couldn’t agree more! It’s so easy to get caught up in school work in university, and I’m a huge advocate of taking some time for yourself and self-care. If for you that means volunteering, getting involved in athletics or joining a student group then we’ve got you covered.

ezgif-1-5259d10a5dThe arm workout we didn’t know we signed up for!

Other tasks we completed involved cutting plastic tubing for the self-watering bucket systems used for container gardening, and planting teeny tiny seedlings for parsley, cilantro and dill. Seriously, they were so small! I was afraid to hurt them.

To be honest, the Green Roof is looking a little bare right now, but under all that soil there’s a lot happening!

greenroof

The Ryerson Urban Farm is headed to the Ryerson Farmers’ Market, which starts May 10, and will continue every Wednesday through to October 4. You can buy organic veggies, fruits and herbs at the RUF tent, and also visit a wide variety of other fantastic vendors. So, be sure to stop by from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. to check it out!

Now that you know the basics I can’t wait to share more updates with you after my RUF shift next month. I’m hoping for a little more sunshine, slightly less rain, and even more gardening fun!