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Toronto gets flower farm with help from homes around the city

A new way to bring flowers to people across Toronto is coming this summer, and it could be in your own backyard. Growing Tkaronto is an urban flower farm that wants to partner with homeowners and organizations to grow specialty cut flowers for wholesale and consumer markets, says founder Sylvia Cheng. "So what we're really trying to do is to bring seasonal and local flowers into people's communities, and then also be able to employ queer BIPOC folks to actually train them in industry," Cheng tells.

The people or organizations who partner with Growing Tkaronto will lend their yard space, in a full sun area, and in return, they will get a beautifully tended garden and credit toward the purchase of flowers. While the flowers will all eventually be harvested, Cheng plans to plant many dahlias, which are not harvested until they are about 80 percent in bloom.

"So with dahlias, you're enjoying most of the blooms when it's on the stem in your field. And so it's going to look gorgeous. And even if things get harvested because of the amount that would be in a planted bed, you would have many blooms to enjoy." Right now the business is a sole-proprietorship, but Cheng hopes to transition to a social enterprise. Cheng started preparing land for growing in 2020, then started to grow flowers last year but gave them away to friends and family to learn the practice of flower farming.

This year, she hopes to find more people to partner with to grow and sell flowers through farmer's markets, pop-up events, and the farm's website. She plans to keep the business low emission, so is building a cargo bike to transport tools and flowers to properties. Currently, she is focusing on the High Park and Junction areas of the city but plans to expand in the future.

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