Sowing Seeds of Change: Meet Our Food System Champion, the PATCH!

The PATCH, MLFPC's Food System ChampionThe idea for a community-driven urban farm was born during the pandemic when Joe Gansevles recognized the need for accessible food in the London area. From bylaws, to being on a floodplain, to a lack of funding, challenges seemed to pop up at every corner. However, with the help of community members they were able to overcome these obstacles and form the PATCH!

The PATCH is an urban agricultural initiative that does more than just grow food at their three London locations; they also host events & workshops,The PATCH Cavendish community food hub location Sign provide employment training, and cultivate a safe space for volunteers and community members to garden and meet new people. Their stunning Cavendish Community Food Hub location is equipped with wheelchair-accessible gardens, follows eco-conscious practices, and has generated thousands of pounds of fresh produce this year!

The PATCH is committed to sustainability, inclusivity, and resourcefulness, with inclusivity being reflected in their garden layout that features wheelchair-Wheelchair accessible plots for gardeningaccessible pots, raised garden beds, and roomy pathways to ensure participation from individuals of all abilities. Their Cavendish location exemplifies resourceful practices by repurposing donated wooden pallets as materials for garden beds, and redirecting waste as soil-enriching compost that is donated by The Wormery at the Western Fair District (thanks, Dan!). Committed to sustainability, they primarily deliver their produce to organizations by bicycle, clocking over 750k miles. Among their partnerships, they generously contribute their harvest to organizations such as the London Food Bank, Ark Aid Mission, and Indwell . It is truly a community effort!

The PATCH’s dedication is evident: they’ve generously donated 3,000 lbs of food this year, and are aiming for 5,000 lbs this year. Their vision includes expanding their planters and introducing an inclusive tactile gardenCavendish Community Hub location of the PATCH designed for all to enjoy, regardless of sensory limitations. Additionally, they have plans for a streamlined irrigation system. 

As for the future, they envision a city where the overlooked corners and plots can become repurposed as food hubs. They encourage communities, universities, and employers to replicate this model, ensuring economical access to healthy food for all communities. When talking about the PATCH’s long term plams Joe Gansevles says,

“I would think that if we had a long-term plan for this space is that it could be a template for urban agriculture in the city. To look at spaces that you maybe you wouldn’t look at it with first glance and think, “Oh, you could grow a significant amount of food there” So, I would hope that this is something that co-The PATCH's team at the Cavendish Community Huboperative housing complexes could have, that a university could have, that large-scale employers that have land that they could re-purpose and utilise for their workforce. Our long term plan would be that we can live in a city where there’s easy economical access to food for people, and this is an open-patent design. People can come and they can liberate what we’ve done and they can do it in their neighbourhoods, schools, and workforce. 

So, I think our long term plan is there’s a whole bunch of these, and people having access to healthy foods. They don’t have to decide whether they are going to pay their bills or get healthy food”.

It’s clear to see that the PATCH’s growth and success is the result of the hardwork and  dedication from its employees, volunteers, and community supporters. It stands as an amazing model for what can be achieved in a short amount of time through community cooperation. We can’t wait to see what is next in store for the PATCH and how it will continue to evolve!


Animal & Community Ally: Meet our Food System Champion, Zhawanoogbiik Danielle Riley of Riley Ranch of Three Fires!

Danielle Riley is MLFPC's Food System ChampionSixteen-year-old Zhawanoogbiik Danielle Riley embodies the spirit of compassion and community care. She has demonstrated great initiative as a Food System Champion by helping connect others with the resources they need to care for their animals.

From Chippewas of the Thames, an Anishinaabe First Nations band government, her childhood dream was to be able to care for animals in her own business. During the pandemic, it became apparent to Danielle that there was great need for pet supplies, including pet food, from pet owners who were struggling due to the economic downturn.

In response to the fast-growing need, she was able to raise donations to supply those who were facing challenges in accessing the things they needed for their animals and started her initiative, an animal food bank.

The shelves of her food bank tell a powerful story, reflecting the growing demand for support. In July 2022, 120 bags of dog food were distributed. Dani’s commitment shines, whether connecting people with resources, envisioning warmer shelters for outdoor pets, or exploring paths toward healing through her love for animals. She hopes that she can continue to connect others with the resources and care that they need.

Pollination Heroes: Meet our Buzzworthy Food System Champion, the Middlesex Centre Pollinator Team!

Food System Champions Middlesex Centre Pollinator TeamThe Middlesex Centre Pollinator Team has truly shined in supporting our local food system.

Their journey began in 2019, driven by the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, a pledge made to show Middlesex Centre’s commitment to champion the care of our native pollinators. Through their dedicated work, they have created a positive impact in the London-Middlesex community, centred around education and the nurturing of natural pollinator habitats.

They’ve set out to achieve three overarching goals.
1. To grow and share native plants from seed that support pollinators.
2. To promote the wellbeing and flourishing of pollinators.
3. To educate the community about the web of interdependence within our ecosystem between us, native plants, and native pollinators, emphasising how our support can pave the way for a better environment now and in the future.

To achieve these goals and engage the community in their mission, they have established many different programs such as selling pollinator plants at the Komoka Community Market in the summer and having annual compost sales. They also partner with many community organizations to host educational events on a variety of different topics. Visit their website to find a variety of resources, including where you can buy native plants near you and how you can create a pollinator garden of your own! There you will also find a list of upcoming events to join.

The Middlesex Centre Pollinator team has been doing an amazing job of not only creating a healthier food system for now, but one that is strong and sustainable for the future. We are excited to see what else they have in store!

Championing Sustainable Food: Meet Our Food System Champion, On The Move Organics!

On the Move Organics Food System Champion of MLFPCOn The Move Organics, founded in 2008 by Jeff Pastorius, is on a mission to rebuild Ontario’s local food system by connecting with local farmers. Starting with bike deliveries in the Old East Village, the company expanded to offer groceries and delivery vehicles as demand grew.

What sets them apart is their strong commitment to sustainability. Through their Zero Waste Club, they save over 23,000 single-use plastic containers annually. Serving southwestern Ontario, they source from 125+ local farmers, producers, suppliers, and artisans.

On the move organics food box

During COVID-19, On The Move Organics partnered with LIFE*SPIN to launch “The Community Food Box Program”, delivering fresh produce and groceries to families facing financial struggles. The program, funded by customer donations and their own 1% “For The Community” initiative, has provided over 60,000 meals to date. Their business practices prioritize sourcing locally and reducing food waste by collaborating with restaurants and featuring rotating menus showcasing locally-grown crops. Community involvement is central to their ethos, and they host events and workshops while supporting local businesses.

Looking ahead, they plan to add a pollinator garden near LOLA Bees, exploreOn the Move Organics Team with food boxes non-carbon delivery options like bike deliveries and electric alternatives, and improve efficiency in their warehouse to reduce food waste and environmental impact. With a dedicated focus on locality and community outreach, On The Move Organics aims to make positive strides in the food system for years to come.  Check out On The Move Organics’ website for more information: On The Move Organics.