Barrett Centre Food Literacy Innovation Zone launched by Durham College and the Town of Ajax

Access to educational resources will help tackle food insecurity, inspire sustainable practices

Whitby, ON – Community education and engagement is the focus of a new food security and sustainability initiative launched by Durham College’s Barrett Centre for Innovation in Sustainable Urban Agriculture (Barrett Centre), in partnership with the Town of Ajax through their new corporate giving program, the Ajax Partnership Fund.

The Barrett Centre’s new Food Literacy Innovation Zone aims to address challenges in food security and supply chains through the lens of urban agriculture by educating local community members about nutrition, gaining access to food and incorporating local and healthy food into their lifestyle.

“Food insecurity and supply chain constraints can lead to a lack of nutritious food that is accessible to the community, especially those who may be unable to locate a variety of food close to home,” said Brenna Bizley, partnership manager at the Barrett Centre. “Having educational materials in conjunction with the Barrett Centre Ajax Urban Farm will have an exponential impact on the community as people learn about the impact of food on their health and the importance of growing locally.”

The Zone, which is now under construction, will be based out of the Barrett Centre Ajax Urban Farm in North Ajax. At the farm, three garden models will be designed – a pollinator garden, home garden and balcony garden – and will act as a template to inspire community members to grow their own food at home. There will also be knowledge sharing through resources and materials to support and enhance food literacy via direct community engagements and the Barrett Centre Community Portal, coming in fall 2023.

“Ajax Council and the Town of Ajax are proud to support the Barrett Centre’s new Food Literacy Innovation Zone through the Ajax Partnership Fund. Thank you to Durham College for partnering with the Town to be able to offer these important resources to our community. This investment reinforces Ajax’s commitment to being a municipal leader in green and sustainable practices to ensure a healthier Ajax for all,” said Mayor Shaun Collier.

To recognize the farm’s launch and the partners who have supported the Barrett Centre projects to date, DC and the Town of Ajax will host an Open House event in October 2023, where community members will have the chance to explore the farm and Food Literacy Innovation Zone.


About Durham College
With campuses in Oshawa and Whitby, Durham College (DC) offers over 12,000 full-time post-secondary and apprenticeship students access to more than 145 programs, including five honours bachelor degrees and nine apprenticeship programs. 

DC enables students to develop career-ready skills for the ever-changing job market by providing an exceptional college education. With a focus on experiential learning, led by expert faculty, through field placements, applied research, co-ops and other hands-on opportunities, DC grads are known for having the skills and knowledge employers need.

About the Barrett Centre of Innovation in Sustainable Urban Agriculture
Durham College has established the Barrett Centre of Innovation in Sustainable Urban Agriculture (Barrett Centre) with the generous support of The Barrett Family Foundation.

The Barrett Centre’s vision is to become an internationally recognized hub of excellence in urban agricultural practices, research, education and training, to address some of society’s biggest challenges including food insecurity, access to safe and stable supplies of fresh food, and economic stability and regeneration of land for local food production.

About the Ajax Partnership Fund
The Ajax Partnership Fund (APF) is an opportunity for organizations and individuals to partner with the Town of Ajax on events, initiatives and projects of shared importance making a difference for the residents and wider community of Ajax. Applicants submit their proposal to the Town and are evaluated against a set of criteria to ensure the highest and best use of funding. To learn more about the APF please visit

Media contact:
Jessica Rivers
Senior Communications Officer
Durham College