By: Jocelyn Schwalm
After volunteering on farms around the world, Jenny Spring decided to return to her hometown of Huntsville to give starting her own farm a try. The Spring Farm is a locally run urban farm owned by Jenny Spring, a 26-year-old entrepreneur. Located in Hunstville, Ontario, the farm has been positively impacting the community in multiple ways. The urban farm is a new attempt at being conscious of where our food is actually coming from instead of blindly participating in consumption.
The idea of buying locally seems much more appealing than buying from highly commercialized grocery stores. The produce that is grown on Spring Farms is local produce, being sold only to local consumers for restaurants and farmer’s markets. In fact, the demand is currently much higher than supply. Spring has said that due to high demand, she feels she is in over her head and can’t grow the produce fast enough.
The Spring Farm sells boxes of its freshest produce weekly for customers in Huntsville who want to have access to organic fruits and vegetables. The farm grows all types of fruits and vegetables, and although they are known for their fresh Micro Greens, their inventory doesn’t stop there. They also grow beans, peas, carrots, onions, beets, squash, kale, lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, peppers, rhubarb and melon, to name a few.
One of the most environmentally conscious aspects of Spring Farm is that they turn urban pieces of land into these gardens. This drastically reduces the carbon footprint, allowing for a more environmentally friendly way to acquire foods we would buy anyway. This means less travel for consumers, resulting in more people buying locally. Due to the fact that Spring Farms is an organic farm, the produce is grown using less pesticides than commercial farms, where the consumer is more often than not unaware of what exactly is being used on their food. Inadvertently, this also causes the nutritional value of the food to go up, as well as the fact that the closer we consume food from farm to fork, the more flavorful the produce will be.
The Spring Farm, with three downtown plots, has successfully navigated its way through three growing seasons and has covered over five acres of land. Spring Farm is not only growing everything from micro greens to melons, but is also incorporating the community as well. Jenny Spring has taken her love of gardening and turned it into a positive pastime for inmates and students. She works with inmates at Beaver-Creek, a medium-level security-prison in Muskoka to offer a three-week college-level course, in which they can learn organic gardening.
This benefits the environment and gives the inmates a positive outlet for any pent-up energy. Spring says the inmates have even taken a serious liking to their new farming lifestyle. The inmates aren’t the only ones to reap the benefits from an Urban Farm though; Jenny Spring also works with Muskoka Montessori School, where she operates a farm program for kids in grades 7 and 8. The students are responsible for the upkeep of the garden, as well as for selling the produce they grow to parents and family members. The produce also helps make organic vegetable soup to sell at lunch for their peers.
The benefits of this ingenious farm are seemingly endless as Spring is able to connect the community through organic produce. It seems that the rewards they reap from this garden exceed just fruits and vegetables.