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Trinity Reach Farm in Urban Toronto

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Check out this video that we made while on site at Trinity Reach Farm!

Who would have thought, three 20-something housemates, living in a two-storey home within a bustling city would be cultivating and making their own delicious foods right in their own backyard? Nestled between the streets of Downtown Toronto, three restaurant employees have come together and formed what is known as, Trinity Reach Farm. Hidden behind a typical looking house, the Vidafine team was astonished to discover a backyard with sprouting vegetables, a ‘Big Smoke’ smoker and wait for it… a chicken coop. The team at Trinity Reach Farm isn’t here to present anything revolutionary, they are just looking to use their talents and interests to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Ultimately, producing your own foods is fun, and enjoying the fruits of your own labour definitely tastes better!

herb-garden

Fascinated by food and food creation, Paul, Dave and Jacob first started planting their own herb garden on the rooftop of their current rental home. When their landlord asked them to get off the roof, they moved their operations to the back of the house. Touring their space, rows of cabbage, tomatoes and a variety of other veggies cover about half of their backyard.

backyard-garden

The other half is space left for three chickens bought for $7 each from a supplier in Elmira, Ontario. They’ve also built a large wooden smoker used to smoke fish and meats beside their garden.

wooden-smoker

Their operations indoors include crafting their own beer and cider, various types of cheeses made using a homemade press and curing meats and sausages with what used to be a mini wine fridge. Their shelves also line with their own pickled vegetables and preserves. Yum!

Maintenance for their garden and indoor operations are familiar to most people, but what individuals find most astounding when they hear that chickens live in Paul, Dave and Jacob’s backyard is how they manage to take care of them!

chicken-coop

One problem does exist however. In Toronto, it is currently illegal to raise livestock within the city. Interesting enough though, if no neighbours complain about the chickens, Trinity Reach Farm can continue doing what they’ve been doing. Based on what Jacob has told us, no one has complained thus far, as the chickens are relatively quiet, especially in the evenings.

In local Canadian news, Vancouver, the Green Capital, recently legalized Backyard Chickens in June of 2010. After a year of investigation and inquiry, city councilors approved a law allowing hen-owners to register their hens! Just like how dogs and cats can be registered under city by-laws, hens can now be considered a legal pet in Vancouver. The city is setting aside $20,000 in their budget to build an ‘abandoned hen’ house to raise and nurture ‘lost’ hens back to health. While there are no doubt concerns about raising hens as pets, clearly if a major environmentally forward city like Vancouver has their own city council convinced that this is a sustainable idea, why can’t Toronto? Here’s a sampling of their advantages:

chicken-eating

- 2 hens produce a dozen eggs a week (do YOU even eat that many eggs in a week?)

- hens are cheap ($7 per hen -  even if the big bad wolf snatches one away, it’s not going to break the bank)

- their waste provides for great natural fertilizer (fertilizer is expensive, I don’t garden but my parents do)

- hens only make any noise during the early morning (but they aren’t louder than dogs *cluck*)

- they are no harder to maintain than a regular pet (much like a cat : feed, clean litter tray, rinse, repeat)

- all your friends will want to visit you and your hen pets

So what can you do? It’s great to hear of people being entirely sustainable on their egg-consumption and fertilizer-use. Chickens in a backyard? It’s a fun story to tell your friends. If you want it for yourself though, I say go for it. If someone can maintain backyard chickens in a house situated within the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto, you can do it in your residence wherever you live. I’d love to write some articles about ‘Balcony Chickens’ or ‘Chickens on da Roof’ even!

trinity-reach-farm

Contact your local city councilor today and let them know about this article! Hopefully we can move closer to what sustainability really means! (If you plan on getting a project similar to this one started in your area, let the Vidafine team know and we would love to come out and check it out!) Let’s go Chickens, Let’s go!

composteggscabbage-farm

If you are interested in seeing more photos, visit the Vidafine Flickr page!

For anyone who is interested, check out Pretty Yummie for a recap of a dinner that Vidafine attended in the Trinity Reach Farm dining room!

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Comment
  • http://twitter.com/naomielise naomi elise mukai

    I was thinking about getting hens earlier this summer.. now i think i will do it, knowing they are only 7$. plus, i have room for them in my cute little cedar shed :)

  • http://twitter.com/biGbELLAY Terry

    Funny. Just the other day I was talking to my friend about this very topic. He has just purchased a few hens for his own garden which too, is full of fruits and veggies! Keep up the good work vidafine!

  • http://www.vidafine.com ben

    nice to know that there r more ppl raising their own chicken in toronto! i am planning to put together a smoker… seems like a nice summer project

  • http://solarcrash.com Lon

    our family east like 3 dozens a week… but 3 hens for 7 bucks a piece ain't bad at all…

  • http://twitter.com/phileasc Phileas Cheng

    let us know how it goes. and i'm sure if you have any questions, we can always direct them to the kind folks at Trinity Reach Farm, as they're more than willing to help other hen owners out.

  • http://twitter.com/phileasc Phileas Cheng

    yeah, the hardest part really is maintaining – cleaning the coups, bringing them out at 5 am every morning…etc

    but the responsibility seems well worth it

  • Alan

    great ideas! would be awesome if condos allowed something like this on rooftops.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eugene.loo Eugene Loo

    Or balconies!

    Okay here's the 'deal' breaker' what do we do with the chickens in the Winter?

    As Canadians, we live in igloos. How can the hens survive?

    #coldchickens

  • ecee

    hi naomi thanks for checking out the post! :P We still need to meet in person :P I think you definitely should consider getting one/two. The hens are relatively quiet, we also learned that they wake up when the sun rises, and sleep right when it gets dark. If you are a morning person it's good because they usually need to be let out of their coop when the sun comes out!