There is nothing you can do that will have more of an impact in your life than committing to understanding where your food comes from. Growing your own food can have a profound effect on your family, as once you grow through a process of “raising” a carrot from seed, and see how long everything takes, you never want to waste food again – try to use it all, then compost what is left, if anything. Getting to know your farmers, by shopping at the market, or having direct connection to them, and visiting organic farms whenever you can will change your relationship with food, and you will make great new friends. These are just a few of my favourite farmers, but I look very forward to growing this list – more than any other list!

Bautista Family Organic Date Ranch After enjoying the Bautista Family’s incredible, organic dates at multiple California Farmers’ Markets, we visited their farm, and had the wonderful opportunity to meet their family and watch them smile as they cleaned, sorted and packaged their dates to send across the country (and yes, they do ship to Canada, too!). While we had the great fortune to sample all of the varieties of dates (family favourites were the “wet” medjool and the small honey dates, although every one of them was beyond fabulous), we look forward to visiting again when the dates are growing on the trees and being harvested in the heat of the late summer. Once you try the Bautista’s dates, you will be spoiled forever!

The Cutting Veg Farmer Daniel of The Cutting Veg is one of those people that makes you better, just knowing him. His knowledge and passion for all he does is rooted so deeply, that his work feels extra inspirational. He is promoting health and diversity in one of the most meaningful ways – through the connection of growing and eating really good food. Did you know that there are tons of varieties of garlic grown in Ontario? Try them all, Daniel likes each variety for a different reason, and you will too.

Sosnicki Organics Ben and Jessie have been my favourite source of produce at markets in Toronto for years, and they are always one of my first stops. Their kale, onions, tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, peas, peppers, corn, cabbage and everything they grow is just the best, and I’m quite sure it’s because when happy, passionate, committed people are growing your food from the best seeds, it tastes better. Get to know Ben and Jessie, and their three sweet children (one shown enjoying their juicy field tomatoes in the picture above!) who are always around at the markets, too. Let their family feed your family, and you will be healthier and happier!

Zionites Farm in Free Hill, St. Ann, Jamaica I also search for local, organic farmers when I travel, and I am so pleased to have connected with and met Lisa and Chris Binns from Zionites. The produce they grow is incredible tasting, their farm-made hot sauce is the BEST (and Ryan Storm approved), and their fresh baked goodness is BEYOND excellent, organic and nut-free. Also, if you ask nicely, they have fresh cacao pods, too. When in new places, try what is native to their country and region.

Young Urban Farmers (YUF) There’s no better access to local, organic food better than growing it yourself. Farmer Chris Wong, of Young Urban Farmers, has helped my entire family learn to plan, grow, and harvest our own organic crops for years. With raised beds, and cold frames to help extend the short growing season in Toronto, we are delighted by our own crops almost all year round. Maybe next, we will get into bee-keeping, since Young Urban Farmers can help with that too!