The BUFCO Bulletin

The Spring-Has-Almost-Sprung Edition
  March 2020

In this Issue...

Guess what? Gardening is NOT cancelled! Arlene suggests how you can Keep Calm and Garden On in this issue's In Your Garden. Get a head start on your garden by ordering a raised bed from our March Sale, or pre-ordering BUFCO certified organic seedlings. If your backyard is too small or too non-existent to grow food, fret not--Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) might be exactly what you need to supplement your backyard (or window sill) urban farm.
It's time to pre-order our Certified Organic Seedlings!

In Your Garden
Keep Calm and Garden On

Gardening NOT cancelled. Start your seedlings now!

We are all making sudden adjustments to our everyday lives so everyone is understandably jittery and we are no exception. However, we are finding solace in the soil, in spending time with family, in getting our hands dirty, tending to our indoor garden, potting up seedlings and starting new seedlings, and planning for our spring gardens as usual. 

Now more than ever, growing delicious, home-grown food is the best way to ensure healthy self-sufficiency, especially if we are staying home more often and for longer periods of time. Gardening is a great way to get outside, to reconnect with nature and to enjoy a fun activity together as a family. Plus, nothing tastes better than freshly harvested, homegrown fruit, herbs and vegetables. Especially when we’ve grown them ourselves. 

So thankfully,  gardening is one of the things that isn’t cancelled. And now is the perfect time to plan your garden and start your seedlings. Don’t know where to start? Read our two blog posts that outline how to grow your own seedlings and how to make a garden plan.  We've also created two video demonstrations to help you find your way. One shows you how to start your tomatoes and the other shows you how to "Pot Up" your older seedlings.
Turn your social distance from people to social proximity to plants!

Marc's Tips in the Middle #1

In January, Arlene and I gave a talk at the Guelph Organic Conference to about 165 attendees. Our focus? “From Home to Homestead: How to Grow Your Own Urban Farm”. You can read all about it in my blog post, but in the meantime, here’s the list to pique your curiosity:
(1) Assess your homestead (2) Establish a place to grow (3) Know your soil (4) Access to water (5) Establish a place to use and process waste (6) Livestock (7) Connect with your neighbours (8) Establish a place to prepare and store food (9) Extend your growing season (10) Save your seed.

March SALE on all DIY Raised Bed Kits

Deluxue Series - 15% Off!   Square Post Series - 15% Off   Signature Series - 10% Off

10-15% off listed prices. Call us and quote the promo code "SAVE&GROW" to receive the discount!

Marc's Tips in the Middle #2

Step 9 in the Homesteading process is “Extend your growing season”, which refers not only to outdoor growing, but indoors too. If you want to grow your own seedlings, a sunny window sill will sometime do, but most often, supplemental light is going to be a requirement. Although I’m no lighting expert, here are a couple highlights (hehe…) LED lights are much more affordable than they were just a year ago, and are far more economical to operate than any other light source. “Full spectrum” to a plant means intense blue and red colours; “Full spectrum” to human eyes includes those plant-essential colours, but mimics sunlight, so is easier to live with in your home. So make sure you know what “full spectrum” fixtures you’re purchasing. When making a purchase, read reviews, and focus on the negative reviews to get true insight into the product quality.

Pre-order Your Certified Organic Seedlings

Adopt a seedling today!

If the idea of growing your own seedlings is a tad overwhelming right now, fret not! We've got you covered from Arugula to Zucchini (Green & Yellow!)

All BUFCO gardens start with certified organic seedlings grown by our colleague Sophie Clark at Trout Lily Farm. We carry many unique varieties of heirloom tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, delicious eggplant, sweet and spicy basil, edible flowers and all your favourite perennial herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, parsley, and much more.

Email with your wish list and pick up at BUFCO HQ as early as April 20. Or, pick up at one of our Farmers’ Market locations: Ottawa Street (Hamilton), Sick Kids, Leslieville Market, Withrow Park. A full seedling lists is posted on our website. Orders are already coming in!

Marc's Tips in the Middle #3

Not a tip, but rather a shout-out in these trying times, to our front-line healthcare workers. Doctors, nurses, interns, technicians, researchers, hospital support staff like porters and others, are all putting themselves in harms way. Every day, healthcare workers readily put their own self-interest and safety aside as they work tirelessly to keep us safe and healthy and calm. These people are heroic and we owe them our thanks and gratitude.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Supplement your Backyard Urban Farm with a CSA Share!

That time we gave "CSA shares" from the BUFCO Lab to our staff and neighbours ...
it was hard work!

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSA is a direct producer-consumer distribution model where CSA members pay a farmer for a seasonal subscription of produce.  This gives a small farmer more upfront stability to finance their operations than selling only at local farmers' markets. In exchange, CSA members receive weekly shares of fresh, seasonal produce from a local farmer for the entirety of their growing season, often at a fraction of a cost of buying from farmers' markets.

The CSA model connects consumers to the land by making us direct stakeholders in its welfare. For example, in the event that drought yields a bad crop, this would be reflected in the size of our CSA share. With more extreme weather events, farmers are increasingly taking on risks to grow our food (including the risk of cancelled farmers' markets in response to COV-19!), and the CSA model helps redistribute that risk.

At the same time, many small farmers are trying to reverse human-induced environmental degradation by adopting regenerative agriculture techniques. Regenerative methods not only help rebuild healthy soil (that sequesters more carbon, holds more water and nutrients, etc.), but are also more resilient to the impacts of climate change and produces more nutritiously dense food. As a result, in my experience, it's not unusual to get a bumper crop in my CSA! Not to mention, it gives those who don't have access to the resources to grow 100% of their produce an opportunity to divest from a dwindling shortlist of grocery giants. 

Most farms that have CSA programs are accepting members now. Try Joyfully Organic FarmLuminous Ground Farm, or Zawadi Farm among others.

Give us a call!
Arlene at (647) 290-2572
Marc at (416) 450-3899

Email us at

Copyright © 2020 The Backyard Urban Farm Company (BUFCO), All rights reserved.
44 Columbus Ave., Toronto, ON, M6R 1S2  Canada

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