The Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre (RRCRC) provides a wide range of social support and services that enable the empowerment of residents, community resilience, and the inclusion of all. As part of its food security response, the RRCRC launched in November 2019 Social Harvest Ottawa, a social enterprise greenhouse at the Centre to grow nutritious food and nourish connections to generate positive impacts in the community.
The idea began in 2016 when the RRCRC was moved by its desire to find other ways to contribute to the community’s food security and began to explore the feasibility of renovating an unused greenhouse space. Operations finally began after an anticipated relocation of the RRCRC in the new Rideau Community Hub (formerly Rideau High School).
Installations before operations by Social Harvest Ottawa began
A lot of thought was put into the details of Social Harvest Ottawa, such as logo and even its name! SHO believes in an inclusive and welcoming environment filled with our values and innovation. We are motivated by knowing that families benefit from our services and products through the fresh produce with pinches of urban agriculture and food literacy content we provide:
Social Harvest Ottawa aims to grow nutritious food and nourish connections so that we generate positive impacts in our community
Once the greenhouse was ready, production began right away. The first products were an array of colourful, tasty and nutrient-packed microgreens. At SHO, we enjoy experimenting with different seed varieties and growing methods, a process that gives us the confidence to offer our customers the best product possible soon began to learn about our passion for contributing to solving food insecurity issues and clam were sold to our sister-organizations, staff and community members.
Photo of a clam of Spicy Triton Radish - one of our favourite microgreens
Now, Social Harvest Ottawa produces microgreens from fall through spring and hot-house crops in the summer. Our produce is always fresh, local, nutritious and free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. You can now find our products for sale with Good Food on the Move (www.marketmobileottawa.com) and by reaching out directly to us.
Photo of the early stages of the tomato crop - summer 2020
Social Harvest Ottawa (SHO) is much more than an urban greenhouse, it is a place of convergence and synergy for its sister-enterprises as well as the community. It continues to improve its service and develop into an urban farm. SHO seeks to:
Create new ways for people to gain agency and access to the foods they consume with its programming while remaining financially sustainable through the sale of greenhouse crops and other products.
Decrease barriers to employment by hosting youth in a paid internship program in partnership with other organizations
We offer paid employment opportunities to youth looking to develop their work experience and entrepreneurial skills through short-term internships. Our other projects and events involve volunteers to help in the organization and delivery of activities related to urban agriculture, like the Seeds & Soil Giveaway event in July 2020. We encourage all ages to take part in our events.
A. Fernandes - Social Harvest Ottawa Intern Spring 2020
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