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

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.