Veggie City 'in the hood'

Veggie City 'in the hood'
Veggie City crew members posing with Veggie Mastermind, Trevor Johnson in front of our newly painted banner! Thank you LIHC youth for creating such an awesome piece of art!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Check This Out!!!!

Hey everybody, Check out these links to Veggie City in the news!!![]=294351

Veggie City Wrap-up Dinner!

After a couple weeks of planning, and re-planning, and re-planning…we were finally ready for the big night.  Slideshow. Check. Veggie City Banner. Check. Food Cooking. Check. Now we just need the people to show up.  Well the night finally arrived, the end of the year wrap-up dinner.  We were very lucky to be able to share the night with one of our biggest partners, The London Training Centre.  Along with their local food skills class we were able to provide our shareholders and some community members with a great night filled with stories, laughs and best of all some delicious locally grown food!! This event was a great time to celebrate what a successful year we had at Veggie City.  All of our youth were in attendance to share their experience with the eager listeners. Throughout the night we were able to gain the interest of many of those in attendance who were learning about Veggie City for the very first time, and even had people sign up to be shareholders for next year. The main objectives of the Veggie City project was to bring people together to support the community, youth and locally grown vegetables. The wrap up dinner was an excellent example of all of those things and  really showcased the hard work and success of the program! We look forward to the spring and seeing everyone again at the kickoff  BBQ for year 2!!.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Distribution #10 - Almost Finished

We started off this Saturday like last week with donuts, not a very healthy breakfast but it makes working on a Saturday morning a little sweeter. :) We were working with a reduced crew today (only 3 youth), but managed to to get everything picked and distributed in record time. This yield was a smaller one, with all the tomatoes picked and distributed last week. However, we still managed to get lots of peppers (green, banana and jalapenos) and finally ...GREEN BEANS. To be fair there wasn't a lot of them but after a little taste test they were confirmed to be delicious! This was our second last distribution, with next Saturday October 1st being the last. In the following weeks we will be cleaning up the gardens and putting them to bed for the season. Everyone at Veggie City is looking forward to our wrap-up celebration on October 6th in partnership with the London Training Centre and their Local Food Skills course.  We are looking forward to celebrate a successful first year with our youth, shareholders, mentor, donors and partners!!! 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

So many tomatoes!!!

It was a really cold morning when everyone met at the storage bin. Unfortunately we were hoping that everyone would show up, but at last there was Eric, Angel, Derek, Tosha, Katie and I. Katie bought each of us a donut to start our day and then everyone split into teams of 2 and went to the gardens. I teamed up with Eric and Angel and Derek went together. Katie took the farthest gardens. We picked plenty of was incredible! There were green peppers, banana peppers, and a whole load of tomatoes and cherries tomatoes! After picking everyone was glad to see the beautiful sunshine coming out and bringing us some warmth. We each took a box of vegetables and delivered them. After a long day we went home to enjoy the rest of the beautiful day.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Our First Saturday Distribution

On Saturday Sept 4th we had an amazing distribution, instead of the share holders coming to the market we delivered the veggies to their homes.We were also at the community market talking about Veggie City. The market went well not just for Veggie City, but everyone else that was selling their goods that day.   We had tons of cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, banana and jalapeno peppers. Most of our herbs have finished for the season. As usual we got into our teams and we got right to picking the veggies. At one of the houses we had a lot of tomatoes and it took three of us to bring back the baskets. When we got back to the market we started counting so every share holder has the same number of veggies in each bag.  After counting we all went to deliver to the share holders, and when we were done we headed back to the storage bin to put our bikes and the bins back that was our Saturday.

From the Kipps Lane Market we hope to get new share holder's and keep the share holder's that helped with veggie city this year. Our goal is to expand veggie city into different parts of the city.


The Great Tomato Blight Of 2011

It appears that all of the tomato plants in every garden has developed Late Blight Disease. This disease is basically a fungus that destroys the plant and spreads very quickly. Late Blight is brought on by the cool damp weather, and spreads by wind, water and transfer of dirt. Unfortunately once you see the symptoms of blight it is too late, as the disease will spread and take over the whole plant. We picked all the tomatoes that had not been affected yet and be distributed them. There were lots of green tomatoes that we had to take, as the disease would have killed them off within the next few days if we didn't.

Options for ripening green tomatoes indoors include:
  • Placing them on a sunny window sill. This is a hit or miss solution. You’ll have much better luck ripening mature green tomatoes. Although the tomatoes are more stable sitting on their stem side, they will rot less readily if you can place them blossom side down.
  • Wrapping individual green tomatoes in newspaper and layering in a box, no more than 2 layers deep. Place the box in a dark, dry spot and check weekly for progress. It usually takes 3-4 weeks for the green tomatoes to ripen, but check frequently and remove any fruits that show signs of rotting.
  • Placing the green tomatoes in a paper bag with a ripe apple. The apple gives off ethylene gas, which speeds up ripening. Check the bag daily. 
The research we have done and the info we have received is that if you compost the diseased plants/fruit, the blight could stay in the compost as well as the soil it was planted in. The blight may not get killed off in the winter and the soil could still be contaminated.    

Fried Green Tomato Recipe!!!

Best Fried Green Tomatoes

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Ready In: 20 Minutes
Servings: 4
"You can also fry up red tomatoes with this recipe but make sure they are not over ripe or they will be mushy. Serve these tomatoes outside with a glass of iced tea one summer night and enjoy the sunset with someone you love."
4 large green tomatoes
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends.
Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-size bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs and salt and pepper on another plate. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat.
In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) and heat over a medium heat. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Derek and Katie's Week #2

Hey Everyone!!! So this was our first week of working from the ground up, literally! :) We had a great week of weeding and watering, plus a great Wednesday Harvest.. Yet, another week with plenty of hot peppers and cherry tomatoes. If we top 1360 cherry tomatoes next week I will be surprised! Only half of our shareholders came to pick up their bounty on distribution night, so we were able to donate the extra veggies to the Life Resource Centre. They were so happy to see us on Thursday morning. They said that they were going to use all the extra veggies for their upcoming seniors lunch. During the week Derek spent some time becoming the bicycle repair man. This proved to be more challenging that expected. As one problem was fixed three more would arise. So, we are looking for a REAL repair man. This week was the last week where our wonderful youth worked throughout the week, so on Thursday afternoon we had a end of summer soiree. The youth made a salsa using veggies from our gardens! We will really miss getting to work with all the youth on a day to day basis, but are excited to get to see them every weekend for our upcoming weekend distribution days!!! Thats about all for week 2 for us, so sighning off, stay classy London!!!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Katie's Awesome Week 1

My name is Katie and this is my first time blogging!! It has taken me forever to get this blog finished because I wanted to make sure my first entry into the blogging world was perfect..I hope it turned out o.k. So this blog is about my very first week at VEGGIE CITY!!

I knew a little bit about the Veggie City project before getting hired as one of the new Community Development Workers, but I can honestly say that I had no idea what was in store for me the first week on the job. The first person I met was my also newly hired co-worker Derek. Our first day consisted of meeting with all the youth who took us around to all the different garden sites. When I say took us, I mean on foot...walking...4 hours in total of walking to be exact. Now I'm not exactly a couch potato, but I can say that it has been a long time since my primary mode of transportation has been by bicycle or on foot, so I got a great cardio workout and a glimps of what I had gotten my self into. As this is a green initiative project I found out that all the travel to the gardens to water, weed and harvest is done by bicycle or walking. The first week was an adjustment for me in that department, but I am getting used to it, and actually look forward to my daily bike rides... plus I'm being friendlier to the environment! Getting to know the youth this last week has been awesome! Everyday I come into work I know that I'm going to have fun... which not a lot of people can say about their job. One of the first things that I noticed about all the youth is the pride they take in the gardens they care for, and that they really believe in the Veggie City project and vision. Another thing that I noticed is the great response from the community. People like what they are seeing and are really taking an interest in the project and the positive impact it has on the community, which includes the shareholders!

Week one went by really fast, and I feel that I've already learnt a lot about my community, gardening and the people I work with. Stay tuned for my second's week blog.. which is where you will find out if I actually remember the locations of all the gardens and can make it a whole day without getting lost :)

Friday, 2 September 2011

Zucchini Recipe From This Week's Distribution Night #7

August 31st was our last distribution night. For the following weeks, students will be harvesting and distributing shares directly to our shareholders on Saturdays. As the season comes to an end, there are many opportunities that await and many sad farewells! We want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement along our journey into the local fresh food movement! Our students have learned so much and have taught us just as much this summer.

We would like to share our healthy zucchini muffin recipe that we sampled during our last distribution night, as well as a salsa that we created in the Northbrae Hub kitchen during our end of summer staff party.

Stay tuned for more great recipes and blogs to come, as you journey with us until the end of October, when our gardens will be put to rest and our great Veggie City crew will also rest!

Whole-Wheat Zucchini Bread with Cinnamon & Dark Chocolate Chunks
We have included plenty of alternative ingredients in parenthesis, because we want you to be able to work with what you have on hand.
Dry ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (or all-purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground cinnamon (or 1 Tablespoon pre-ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Wet ingredients:
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup canola oil (or peanut)
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (or regular milk with a splash of vinegar)
  • 1 cup raw sugar (or brown sugar, firmly packed)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups finely grated zucchini
  • 4 oz dark chocolate, chunked
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a 9×4 inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Line a 6-cup muffin tin with papers OR oil a mini loaf pan.
  2. In a bowl, sift together dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy; beat in eggs, yogurt, buttermilk, oil, sugar, and vanilla. Combine well. Stir in grated zucchini and chopped chocolate.
  4. Fold flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. Spoon batter into 6 muffin cups (or mini loaf pan) and pour the rest into the 9×4 loaf pan. Bake for approximately 50 minutes.
 Freezing Zucchini
You don’t have to wait for zucchini season to roll around to enjoy this bread. It is possible to freeze grated zucchini so as to have it available whenever the baking mood strikes.
To freeze zucchini, first wash them, trim the ends and then simply grate them on a box grater. Package in 1 or 2-cup portions in freezer bags or freezer containers. Remove as much air as possible from the bag by smoothing it with the back of your hand from bottom to top and quickly sealing the bag. Freeze flat.
Veggie City Salsa

  • 2 green peppers
  • 6 large tomatoes (any kind from the garden)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic bulb (yummy garlic!)
  • 3 jalepeno peppers (we like it hot!)
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lime (to squeeze at the end)
Chop veggies really small, or use a blender (we liked ours chunky). Mix cumin, salt, chopped cilantro and squeezed lime at the end. Serve with tortilla chips. We liked the scoops kind!

Thunderstorm, Tornado, Tomatoes, Toma-toes By Angel and Eric

Wednesday, August 24. London was expecting a thunderstorm and was under a tornado watch. Since it was just a tornado watch, and it was suppose to happen during the evening, Veggie City crew decided to go on with the distribution night. It didn’t rain earlier in the day as we expected which made it easier for us to set everything up for our shareholders to come and pick up their veggies. Eventually it started to rain but it wasn’t too bad and at the end of the day, it was a successful day.
            Despite the rain, it was a great night! We had collected a lot of goods from our gardens, we had an average of 700 cherry tomatoes, and many other vegetables. Also, the public healthcare nurse Jane came by to watch and help despite the tornado watch, she also thought many cool facts such as “root vegetables are good for your cholesterol”. With the help of Jane we decided to change the location to the side of the plaza in case of rain. Jane is also going to talk to the dietician at the Middlesex Health Unit and get some squash recipes for our shareholders to try. 
Just remember, rain or shine, Veggie City always does the job and we try to satisfy everybody.
Lots of Love from
Angelito (Deejay) and Ericito (Phil)

Hayat and Sosina's Blog--The Week of the Northeast Community Market and Fair

Thursday August 18 was our distribution night for that week because the Veggie City crew were at a training seminar with 200 other youth that are employed by Youth Opportunities Unlimited for the summer.  It was a very rainy distribution night. We had gotten back from the YOU graduation BBQ and picked a lot of our usual vegetables and a massive amount of cherry tomatoes and banana peppers. We set up a picnic table under the roof of the Sanctuary for shelter because it was thunder storming. We did not have all of the shareholders come to pick up the vegetables because of the rain but we had fun sitting under the roof and have a conversation about the storm.

 North East Community Market and Fair at Ross:

We had our own table at the market giving away birdfeeders, planters, and bulletin boards that we made on the days we weren’t in the gardens. We were also selling Veggie City t-shirts and water bottles. Eric and Derek made the best lemonade ever! The people at the market enjoyed it very much. We were also giving away the vegetables that were not picked up by the residents on our last distribution night. It gave the people that were not shareholders a chance to have our veggies and talk to us about Veggie City.  We didn’t have any vegetables left by the end of the market. Myself, Eric, Derek and Jasmine were able to take turns walking around and checking out what people were selling around the market. 
The community market was a lot of fun! People sold food, clothes, jewellery etc. The talented group of young dancers known as the Dynamic Dozen performed for everyone. There was also a group drawing chalk graffiti on the parking lot with kids. Towards the end of the day DJ Hex came and we all had fun dancing. Luso was also handing out corn. The Kipps Lane Northeast Community group was handing out water bottles for free to support recycling. There was also a junior and senior soccer tournament going on at the field right beside the market.

Distribution Night #4- The Spoken Word By Tyree

It was our fourth distribution night and we made a pesto with breadsticks for our shareholders to sample. Unfortunately, they were so good that we ate them all instead of saving them for our residents! That day it was also very cold and the people who went to the distribution night were cold because we didn’t have any warm clothes besides shorts and a t-shirt.  The weather sure is changing fast! We had an “all boys” distribution night and Trevor stopped by during the night and we had fun talking about different point of views about how things would be done and telling really funny jokes (that had to do with absolutely nothing related to Veggie City). When time was up for us and it was time to go home, Eric’s mom came by and helped us bring the equipment back to the storage unit not realizing she took home the extremely HUGE zucchini that we picked earlier on. That’s ok, this week we picked an even bigger one and we made zucchini muffins for all of our shareholders to try. Until next time…

Monday, 29 August 2011

Derek's First week At Veggie City!!!

Hi my name is Derek McLay and I have recently been hired to be a supervisor in the Veggie City Program. My week started out with meeting with Katie Knapp, who has also been hired to work in the same role as me in the Veggie City Program.  We started our week by meeting with some of the youth in the Veggie City team, and they walked us around the neighbourhood to see all of the gardens. It was quite the day, getting to know the youth and getting to see all of the houses. From there we just jumped right into work, watering, weeding and spending quality time with all the youth. On Wednesday we would experience our first pick up day, most of the day was spent gathering all of the vegetables that are ready for everyone to enjoy. We bring everything back to the hub to count it, and ready it for all the shareholders to take home. The highlight of that day for me was counting 744 cherry tomatoes!!! We spent the last 2 days of the week, really  getting into the gardens and trying to get them picture perfect, as we found out that they were due to be photographed for an end of the year wrap up book. These 2 days was a lot of hard work, and at times it seemed we would never get through it all, but with our noses to the grind and fingers getting dirty we were able to clean it all up. I am really looking forward to week 2, and really starting to help the program grow!!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


Blogito by Angelito :O
Watering, picking weeds, giving love and harvesting vegetables, that’s just another regular day for the Veggie City Crew. After picking all our vegetables we gather them together, wash them, and separate them for our shareholders, who come later that day to our distribution night to pick them up. These days are quite special because we get to talk to many residents of the neighbourhood, and unpredictable things happen.
            Last distribution night, two residents showed up to try or delicious dipping sauce, they basically sat down and ate half of it, even though they weren’t shareholders of veggie city. That’s alright though; we now know that for our next distribution night we should have more things for people to try! They weren’t the only community residents that decided it to try our sauce...we had many other residents that came discretely to try it while we were talking to our shareholders.
             There was also a particular resident who came to talk to us and try our dipping sauce. What was interesting about this resident was the fact that she decided to debate one of our team members, by stating that women were better than men and it was a very entertaining experience. We would like to thank all our shareholders and residents for being freaking awesome!