Nominated for Organic Council of Ontario’s Innovation Award, 2014
Red Pocket Farm was a 1/4 acre market garden specialized in Chinese vegetables. The farm was situated at a farm-incubator site in Toronto. I operated Red Pocket Farm full-time for 2 seasons as a solo entrepreneur and new farmer. It is still one of the most fulfilling and challenging things I have ever done.
Red Pocket Farm was born out of a passion to provide organic, local, Asian vegetables – something that is often in short supply or unavailable. I was always proud and grateful to provide food that was grown with care, nourishing, culturally important and comforting.
When I am growing crops related to my Cantonese-Chinese heritage, like when I am seeding, planting, and harvesting gai lan – ponderings about my ancestry energize me and move my hands with meaning. In these moments, I feel like a tiny speck along a thread of history that extends into the past and the future.
Local, Organic & Culturally Important Crops
I am filled with pride and joy when I think of my vegetables being used in delicious Cantonese-Chinese dishes: fresh lettuce braised with shiitake mushrooms and pork belly for Lunar New Year, or local choy sum in noodle soup with Chinese roasted duck for a weekend lunch.
Feeding diverse communities motivates me. I want communities to be able to access foods that are culturally important, safe and healthy, and grown in ways that respect and improve the integrity of our soils and natural eco-systems. The latter is especially critical in the face of our current climate crisis.
Using small-plot, high-density growing methods, I produced approximately 30 crops and 100+ varieties on 1/4 acre. I grew a mix of Asian and non-Asian crops and varieties. Some of my favourites included:
Bok choy / Choy sum / Chinese Eggplant / Edamame / Gai Lan / Napa Cabbage / Pea-shoots / Tong-ho (Chrysanthemum greens) / Yardlong Beans / Yeen Choy (Red leaf amaranth).
Markets & Community
- 2 weekly Toronto farmers’ markets
- Monthly buying club and custom orders
- Community farm tours
- Connected with farms and eco-projects in Hong Kong and Toronto
What Are Red Pockets?
Red Pockets contain money or candy given on special occasions and Chinese holidays. They are blessings for health, prosperity, happiness, and good fortune – all things that are needed for farming!
Farming for the Future, Unforked Magazine
Why Asian Greens are Red Hot with Gardeners, The Globe and Mail
The Farm on Top of the City, Maclean’s Magazine
Sacrée Croissance, Documentary by Marie-Monique Robin
A cooking video with my mom from 2013: