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Design Stores

Urban Harvest

Posted by Annia V / Posted on July 10, 2010

Urban Harvest TorontoUrban Harvest was the first urban agriculture business of its kind in Toronto, long before organic became a supermarket staple, specializing in ecologically sustainable garden alternatives.

Owner Colette Murphy has been at the forefront of the grow-your-own-food movement since the late nineties, when she was inspired by the lack of heirloom (open-pollinated, non-hybridized plants) and organic options available in the market. What may have started as a grassroots mission to supply Torontonians with locally harvested plants and seeds has since evolved into one which promotes stewardship of the land through greater farming consciousness.

Urban HarvestThe Safe Seed Pledge, found right on the main page of Urban Harvest's website, reads like a gardener's ultimate manifesto - advocating for the health, safety and security not just of the food and conditions in which it is grown, but of the individuals and entire communities who consume it. Perhaps equal in mandate is Murphy's own passion for educating and enabling others to nourish themselves by bridging the gap between urban living and healthy, homegrown food.

Urban Harvest is a supplier of over 270 species of 100% certified organic flower, herb and vegetable seeds. To keep up with demand, Murphy has expanded over time from a modest plot of land into a network of local growers and organic farms, including a greenhouse at Downsview Park.

Although Urban Harvest has changed locations every year for the past four years, Murphy is dedicated to serving the Parkdale community with its most recent and permanent outpost stationed at Sorauren and Fern Avenues. Since the store's official opening on May 6th, Murphy's most loyal and avid gardeners have already sussed her out.

Urban HarvestOn a recent visit to pick up a kale plant for my friend's vegetable garden, Urban Harvest revealed itself to be so much more. The store also stocks cards, recycled t-shirts silkscreened by her employees, books by local authors, and all-natural plant-based soaps and salves she makes herself in the store's kitchen. She also carries natural compost activators and a variety of soil food - just don't call it fertilizer. It's a dirty word around these parts.

While the urban gardeners of Toronto may be furiously tilling their yards in anticipation of backyard bounty, Murphy is already looking ahead to the fall and winter months when that will all soon be dormant. By then, she plans to introduce organic grains, sprouting seeds, dried beans and foods from other farmers' market vendors in her store.

Murphy herself is also highly visible on the farmers' market circuit, bringing the goodness of Urban Harvest to places such as Dufferin Grove, Wychwood Barns and Riverdale.

Urban HarvestUrban Harvest is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm and to 6pm on Sunday.

Discussion

9 Comments

Alex / July 11, 2010 at 11:56 am
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This is an absolutely fantastic review! The place sounds incredible, it sounds like Murphy is an essential asset to the Toronto community.
angry gardener / July 11, 2010 at 06:12 pm
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It's actually not open at all on Sundays.

This review, their website and the store sign say they're open 'til 6, but I spent two hours of my day and six bucks on the ttc only to discover otherwise. I like what they're trying to do and I wanted to support them but they should really update their website.
Cara / July 11, 2010 at 07:12 pm
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I've been buying seeds and tomato plants for the last few years from Urban Harvest, and each year, their plants do way better than any other I plant. They are fantastic!!
The Shakes / July 12, 2010 at 12:37 pm
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I bought a Japanese Black Trifele Tomato plant from here for $3 and stuck it in the ground on May 24 weekend. The plant is now about 4 feet high, 4 feet wide, and has about 50 fruits, from pea-sized to pear-sized, on it. Can't wait until they ripen. $3 - that's like the price of a talle latte from Starbucks.
Jane / July 12, 2010 at 04:18 pm
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we just discovered this store a little while ago. we bought black cherry tomatoes which is doing well so far. but we also bought a couple of organic cilantro plants which looked nice but did not have much taste to them. strange. love the idea of this store and will continue shopping there. hopefully will have better luck with herbs next time.
colette replying to a comment from angry gardener / July 15, 2010 at 09:40 am
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Our humblest apologies for not being open on Sunday. We have been working 7 days a week since the beginning of January and it was our first day closed. That is no excuse for not getting the web site changed in time.
To angry gardener, please pop by again if you have the chance and we will reimburse you for your TTC fare. Our new hours are Monday to Fri 10-7pm Saturday 10-5pm and closed Sundays.
sad gardener replying to a comment from colette / September 30, 2011 at 01:47 pm
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Anyone know where urban harvest went? Just popped by today and looks like they closed and were replaced by a gallery?

Hopefully just moved, I love that place.
sad gardener replying to a comment from colette / September 30, 2011 at 01:48 pm
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Anyone know where urban harvest went? Just popped by today and looks like they closed and were replaced by a gallery?

Hopefully just moved, I love that place.
Colette / May 8, 2014 at 10:17 pm
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Hi this is our pop-up garden centre and for 2014 we are at 1340 Bloor St. West, Just west of Lansdowne we are sharing with The Bee Shop. Our plants and seeds are certified organic and mostly heirloom varieties. Open everyday until the end of June. See you there. Thanks Blog TO for naming us one of the top 10 garden centres in Toronto.



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