Real Food Garden

​By: Geremy Capone, Wellness Chef, Cancer Rehab and Survivorship Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

At the ELLICSR Kitchen, we are very mindful of agriculture, sustainability and the entire journey from plant to plate. We feel it's just as important to learn about food sourcing as it is to learn about food preparation. To share this passion with you, we are excited to offer for a fifth year, the University Health Network (UHN) Real Food Garden program.

This true plant to plate experience will provide patients and staff with a chance to learn:

  • Where food comes from,
  • How it's grown and harvested, 
  • How it ends up on our plates.

Entirely volunteer-run, the UHN Real Food Garden program allows people the chance to grow and harvest vegetables from seed, with a lot of watering, digging, trimming and weeding in between. The program is free and open for anyone to join from beginner gardeners to expert green thumbs, for those passionate about food to those who just like spending time outdoors. There is always something to learn and of course chores to do.

Our plot of land is located at the Scadding Court Community Centre (SCCC) at the southeast corner of Bathurst and Dundas and directly across the street from the Toronto Western Hospital. The wonderful people at the SCCC have been extremely accommodating and gracious in taking us in to their community gardening family.

What do we do with all the food? Well since this program spans the entire journey from plant to plate, we use some of the food in our dynamic cooking program at the ELLICSR Health, Wellness, and Cancer Survivorship Centre. Some of the food will be donated to local food banks to give back to the community. And some will be enjoyed by our amazing gardening volunteers.

Sounds exciting doesn't it? Well if you would like to participate, send me an email at We will aim to have our first greenhouse meet at the end of March.

Or if you'd prefer to just watch the plants grow from a distance, I will be tweeting updates from the garden @ELLICSRkitchen and will probably hint to some of the upcoming recipes in our cooking demonstrations. And for some incredible recipes inspired by fresh ingredients like those grown in our garden, check out the

Yours in good eats,