The World has Arrived

World Crops that is!  We embrace the multicultural nature of our GTA, whose diverse residents make our city such a vibrant place to live, yet why we do not meet our food needs in a culturally appropriate and sustainable way?  Currently, to meet demands crops are imported from South and Central American and Asia, but this practice collides with the movement to “think globally, act locally”.   So in partnership with Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Rye’s HomeGrown has introduced a slew of vegetable varieties that you may not expect to see sprouting out of Ontario’s soil. These include; okra, callaloo, Chinese red hot peppers, eggplant, and yard long bean.

If you get the chance take a stoll along Gould Street and check out the World Crops in person, or if you can’t make it to campus above (and below) is a picture of the garden’s ethnic edibles, which are located in the middle section of the Gould Street plot. 

Okra is thought to have originated in Africa, and is commonly used in dishes such as gumbo, stewed, stir-fried etc.  You may recognize okra by it’s characteristic “goo” which occurs when the seed pods are cooked; however, if you’re not a fan of this the sliminess can be reduced by altering cooking techniques.

Callaloo, also known as amaranth, is a leaf vegetable that bears the same name as a popular Caribbean dish.  Callaloo can be used in a plethora of dishes, even as an ingredient in a drink!  There are also dishes that call for this leaf to be used in combination with okra. 

The Chinese Red Hot Pepper are native to the  province Tien-Tsin. They are traditionally used in Asian cooking, Sichuan in particular (Kung Pao chicken anyone?).

The eggplant is native to India, and is part of a family known as Nightshades. Did you know the eggplant is actually a fruit, but unlike most fruits it is usually cooked to soften it and remove its bitter taste. 

As Dr. JIm Brandle, CEO, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre says, “We have every reason to increase crop production and diversification in Ontario and become more responsive to what the consumer wants. This project bridges the gap between production opportunities in the Greenbelt and market demand in the GTA”.

As always please feel free to e-mail us at

A warm welcome also needs to be extended to the Children’s Garden and our ever growing AMAZING team of students, staff, and community members!!  More updates to come so check them out!


Rye’s HomeGrown


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