Toronto, Ontario

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Harbourfront Centre | 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

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For the past 27 years, The Word On The Street has been renowned for the quality and diversity of its event programming. See the lineup of incredible Canadian literary talent that appeared at our 28th festival on September 24, 2017  

Urban Farming in Toronto: Hyper-Local Food Solutions

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

David McConnachie

A long-time publishing and marketing executive, David McConnachie is proud to be the Publisher of Alternatives Journal (A\J). David was the Director of Publishing for the National Hockey League, a professor of marketing at Seneca College, the CEO of, and SVP Communications for GameDay Leadership Management Consultancy, among other career positions. A later-day environmentalist, David appreciates reading all the new insights and innovations that will help Canada evolve to a more sustainable, low-carbon future.

Rhonda Teitel-Payne

Rhonda Teitel-Payne coordinated and managed urban agriculture and other community food programs at The Stop Community Food Centre for 14 years. Rhonda also contributed to city-wide food security initiatives as a member of the Toronto Food Policy Council, Toronto Community Garden Network, World Crops project, Parks and Recreation Community Garden Advisory Committee, Plant a Row Grow a Row, and GrowTO. Rhonda received a Vital People award from the Toronto Community Foundation and was named Inspirational Leader of the Year by the Ontario Association of Social Workers.

Brandon Hebor

Brandon Hebor is a graduate of the Seneca Sustainable Business Management program (formerly the Green Business Management) and is currently an urban fish farmer and hydroponics expert. Put these together and what Hebor really does is aquaponics, raising tilapia, and growing massive heads of leafy greens and microgreen sprouts from nutritious fish poo on Ripple Farms, which he cofounded with Steven Bourne. With his business partner, Hebor speaks at events and teaches an Aquaponics 101 workshop–complete with a demonstration aquaculture unit. The pilot Ripple Farm sprouted at Toronto’s Brickworks complex. Ask Brandon where his next aquaponics systems have dropped.

Lara Kelly

Raised on a 850 acre farm in Saskatchewan, Lara Kelly has been learning how to grow vegetables since birth. She worked on her parents’ organic and biodynamic farm all throughout her childhood and teenage years and went back as an adult to complete her internship. She later went on to start her own organic market garden business and was running a 100-person CSA member-based farm for the past few years. After she and her husband decided they preferred raising their children in Toronto, she sold her farm business and now runs a veggie garden consultation business in Toronto. Lara also does guest speaker events and teaches workshops on urban veggie growing. Her clients in Toronto are people who want to learn and maintain their own edible vegetable gardens. For further inquiries on what she does, email

Kaeleigh Phillips

Kaeleigh Phillips writes in A\J about the joys and harvests of urban gardening is a growing family experience. She shares the excitement and the psychology of introducing children to gardening, and explains how the health benefits abound – for young and old. Kaeleigh is an environment and sustainability communications writer with a passion for animal rights. She is currently the Communications & Outreach Director at Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), and was previously a writer/content creator for a variety of clients as well as staff writer for Women’s Post.