It all started with a seed.
City Street Farms was founded in the fall of 2020 by Miranda Holt and Candace Benson. The idea for an urban farm had been floating around both of their minds for the past few years, but it took the two of them sitting down together and getting excited about all things agriculture to breathe life into their vision.
With the surge in gardening we witnessed in the spring and summer of 2020, we knew the appetite for home-grown food in Regina was strong. As residents of Regina’s core, we also know there is an immediate need for fresh, nutritious food that is financially and geographically accessible to our neighbours.
And so, City Street Farms was born.
We are a social enterprise, growing food in the front and back yards throughout Regina’s core neighbourhoods to eliminate food deserts and foster self-sufficiency within our communities. We do this by partnering with home owners to exchange land access for produce, selling our products in Regina’s market place and educating citizens about the benefits of growing our own food – for ourselves, our communities, and our environment.
Meet Your Farmers
Candace and Miranda first met through Candace’s oldest sister, and were later reconnected by way of their mutual friend and roommate (thanks, Ali!). When they got to talking, the conversation always seemed to turn to agriculture and eventually the idea for an urban farm in Regina began to take shape.
Candace was born & raised in Regina, SK and now lives in an apartment in the city’s downtown core. Although she was raised in the city, agriculture has always been in her periphery. From helping out at her family’s grain farm and learning gardening secrets at her mom & grandma’s vegetable plot, to raising a couple of steers in the “local” 4-H Beef club (she was the only city kid in her club) and later working for Farm Credit Canada, she was always involved in the industry but had not quite found her niche.
That is, until she came across the notion of using small-scale intensive agriculture to replace front lawns with vegetable gardens.
This idea sparked the path Candace has been on for the past several years. She started doing quiet research and talking to friends and folks she’s met on her travels, which led her to complete her Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) with Verge Permaculture in Calgary, AB. In addition to her interest in urban agriculture, she also began learning about regenerative practices for more conventional grain and livestock farms in Saskatchewan. This education, combined with her Bachelor of Commerce earned from the University of Saskatchewan and her experience working for and volunteering with organizations large and small, have made for a natural progression towards what is now City Street Farms.
Some of Miranda’s earliest memories are seeding peas in her Nonna’s garden. Realizing that their effort led to the reward of eating delicious peas later in the season was transformational. Though she still spends time in her Nonna’s garden, Miranda has been gardening independently for over 12 years.
Through tending her own garden and working together with a friend on a community plot for several years, Miranda has learned much from trial and error. It also gave her the opportunity to meet and learn from many local gardeners. Her passion for growing her own food only deepened when she moved into her home in North Central Regina with her husband and began a family. This passion, combined with her love of food, has built up a strong appreciation for growing a wider variety of plants to feed her family and friends. In 2017, when an unfortunate plumbing event quickly turned their front lawn into a large dirt pile, she made the decision to convert the space into a front yard garden – the catalyst for her role in City Street Farms.
Miranda received her Permaculture Design Certificate and took an Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Prairies course from Janeen Kozey at Edible Landscapes in 2019. She is currently working towards her Master Gardener Certificate from the University of Saskatchewan. She is always striving for new knowledge and ways to improve her yearly process of germinating seeds, planting, tending, fertilizing, harvesting, preserving, and then saving seeds for next year.
Throughout her years of gardening, Miranda has worked with many different compost systems and this eventually led her to vermicomposting. Miranda is part owner of the company Better Earth Worms, which is also launching in 2021. The company focuses on reducing food waste in the service industry by diverting organic scraps from the landfill and into their system to create a microbial rich soil amendment.