The Second Spring | September 2016

We have arrived at peak harvest on the rooftop farm! At this point of summer, we are enjoying an incredible array of colours and flavours. We’ve had an abundant selection at the Ryerson Farmers’ Market, from the sweet treats of bright red, orange, yellow, green and purple peppers to the nourishing flavours of fresh shelling beans—in fact, it’s been hard to fit it all on the table! The peak of the farm’s productivity also heralds the waning of the hot crops in their life cycle, so enjoy ‘em while they’re here! As we observe (with a pang of sadness) the drying leaves on the tomato and zucchini plants, we once again return our attention to the cool season crops, and take comfort in the fact that late summer is really the ‘second spring’ (according to Eliot Coleman’s The Winter Harvest Handbook). Accordingly, we’ve planted new sowings of herbs, lettuce, radish, turnips, snow peas, pak choi, napa cabbage, kohlrabi and rapini, among others, keeping in mind that plants take longer to reach maturity with the decreasing daylight hours.

These new sowings mean we have lots of work on the rooftop as we prepare for our fall harvest, so please join us for our upcoming monthly First Friday volunteer event. Thanks to those who came to our Summer Open Farm on August 8th and attended workshops on Flower Farming and Urban Beekeeping. We invite you to help us apply what we learned in these workshops to our ground-level flower farm and pollinator gardens during our weekly Get Growing Monday events that run through the fall. We look forward to connecting with you at our weekly Farmers’ Market each Wednesday, and continuing work on the Urban Farm together in the coming weeks! Lastly, stay tuned for details on our annual Harvest Party taking place in October.

Thanks as always for tuning in!

Upcoming Events

Friday, September 9th | 14pm
First Friday

Monthly Rooftop Volunteering

Every Monday | 14pm
Get Growing Monday

Weekly Ground-Level Volunteering

Every Wednesday | 11am2pm
Ryerson Farmers’ Market

Fresh campus-grown produce and delicious lunch options

Monday, October 24th
Save the Date for the Harvest Party!

Sunny faces on the Andrew and Valerie Pringle Environmental Green Roof (Photo: Gary Beechey)

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer at this month’s First Friday: September 9th (not September 2nd)

Ryerson Urban Farm hosts volunteer sessions on the first Friday of every month from 1–4pm. Due to the Labour Day long weekend taking place on the first Friday this month, we will be moving the session to the second Friday on September 9th. This is a great opportunity to visit the farm, meet other garden enthusiasts, and learn more about urban agriculture.

What: Pre-registered volunteer event, every first Friday of the month
When: Friday, September 9th, 1–4pm
Who: Anyone and everyone is welcome, bring your colleagues, friends and family!
Where: Ryerson’s rooftop farm on the Andrew and Valerie Pringle Environmental Green Roof located on the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre (245 Church Street).
Directions: To get to the farm, go to the fourth floor of the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre located at 245 Church Street. Head to the stairwell in the North-West corner of the building. You’ll find the stairs to the Andrew and Valerie Pringle Environmental Green Roof there.
Instructions: Dress with the weather in mind and be prepared to get dirty! We also highly recommend you wear close-toed shoes.
Registration: There is a limited capacity for volunteers on the rooftop farm. Please RSVP by registering with Eventbrite. If you do not RSVP, you will not be able to attend this volunteer session.

Get Growing Every Monday (Except on Labour Day!)

This fall we will be working to develop our flower farm and pollinator gardens, drawing on principles of ecological garden design such as incorporating local resources, focusing on soil building strategies and using low-impact techniques. This is a great opportunity to volunteer on a weekly basis and learn more about ecological gardening.

What: Drop-In Volunteer Event
When: Every Monday, from 1–4pm. Please note there will be no session on Labour Day, Monday September 5th.
Who: Anyone and everyone is welcome, bring your colleagues, friends and family!
Where: Ryerson’s ground-level gardens. Meet at our Gould Street Garden (across the street from the Student Campus Centre at 55 Gould Street).
Instructions: Dress with the weather in mind and be prepared to get dirty!

We will be moving around multiple gardens throughout the season so please RSVP by sending an email to to make sure you aren’t left behind


Roll up your sleeves and sign up to volunteer with us! (Photo: Sammy Tangir)


Ryerson Farmers’ Market: Every Wednesday

Market season at Ryerson is well on its way! Join us every Wednesday for the first Farmer’s Market of the year. Come by to chat and see what we have in store for you this season. The last market for 2016 will be Wednesday, October 5th.

What: Ryerson Farmer’s Market
When: Every Wednesday, 11am–2pm
Where: Gould St. between Bond and Victoria
Who: Anyone and everyone is welcome

Come by the weekly Farmers’ Market for fresh, campus-grown produce!

This Month’s Featured Edible: Sweet Peppers

In our climate, we don’t always get enough consistent heat for sweet peppers to fully ripen, but all these long, hot summer days have allowed our peppers to mature to the most beautiful shades of yellow, red, orange and even chocolate brown! The hot, humid nights have also played in a role in boosting the ability of the plants to take the peppers all the way to maturity. Epicurious has a recipe that blends the sweet flavour of red peppers with the rich heat of ancho poblanos. This dish takes advantage of all the incredible late summer produce that we are seeing on the market stands these days. We hope you try it out and let us know what you think!

Sweet peppers from chocolate brown to Ryerson yellow

Southwestern Succotash
Recipe adapted from Epicurious


3 fresh poblano chiles (3/4 lb total)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
1 medium red pepper, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 cups fresh corn (from 3 to 4 ears)
1 lb tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
1 lb yellow squash, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Lay chiles on their sides on racks of gas burners or BBQ, then turn flames on moderately high and roast chiles, turning with tongs, until skins are blistered, 5 to 7 minutes. (Alternatively, turn your oven onto broil, about 2 inches from heat, turning and watching carefully, for 8 to 10 minutes.) Transfer chiles immediately to a large bowl and cover tightly. Let steam 10 minutes, then peel or rub off skins and discard stems, seeds, and ribs. Cut chiles into 1/3-inch pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion and red bell pepper, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, black pepper, cumin seeds, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and sauté, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add corn, tomatoes, squash, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook over moderately high heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender and have exuded liquid, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in chiles, cream, lime juice, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon cilantro.