Last night, to showcase the incredible produce from our rooftop urban garden at TELUS House Toronto, we broke bread with some very special guests at our first Fall Harvest Dinner on our 5th floor patio at 25 York Street in Toronto.
We unveiled our TELUS House community garden in June as a sustainability initiative to engage our employees and promote health and wellness in the workplace. Throughout the summer, the thumbs of our volunteers were so green that we grew enough produce to hold a farmers’ market every Tuesday to share the fruits… or rather vegetables…of our labour with team members in Toronto. The response to the fresh, local, organic produce was overwhelming – we sold out each week.
The dinner was a wonderful way to highlight the enormous efforts of our garden stewards – Renee Nadeau, our garden curator, and the members of our TELUS Toronto Green Team – who were joined by several of our corporate and community partners, members of our executive leadership team in Toronto, as well as some of our media and blogger friends.
All were treated to an extraordinary dinner prepared by one of the best culinary transplants this country has ever seen: Chef Massimo Capra. Massimo is well-known both inside and outside the kitchen. When he’s not whipping up a masterpiece at Mistura here in Toronto or taking charge of the menu at the newly renovated Rainbow Room in Niagara Falls, he appears as a guest chef on any number of lifestyle and cooking shows and writes periodically for publications like the Globe and Mail. We were thrilled to have Massimo transform our harvest into a five-star meal.
Believe me, it tasted even more amazing than it looks! Massimo is a serious locavore who shares TELUS’ commitment to sustainability, especially when it comes to food. He believes in eating seasonally and locally, and buying and eating organic whenever possible. Toronto is such a vibrant city that Massimo believes we are spoiled by an embarrassment of riches when it comes to food choices. As an Italian, Chef Capra loves integrating traditional Italian ingredients with local ingredients sourced from farms and farmers’ markets like the ones found at Dufferin Grove, Liberty Village and Wynchwood.
“It’s always nice to be able to take a break and stroll through a garden. Watching the tomatoes ripen and smelling the fresh herbs helps take the mind away from the hustle and bustle of work.”
Chef Massimo Capra
When I spoke with Massimo last night at the event about our community garden project, his enthusiasm was contagious. He expressed hope that every team member in Toronto would take the opportunity to visit the garden.
He also made an excellent point that the garden reminds people where their food comes from and demonstrates the rewards that can stem from growing and sustaining your own food. On the topic of eating sustainably, Massimo suggested following his example of buying seasonally and locally, buying in smaller quantities more often to avoid spoilage, and frequenting small markets that support local farmers – all important points for good health and for the good of our planet.
Looking into the future, Massimo shares our belief that the TELUS community garden will evolve and expand, produce will be streamlined for efficiency, and the ability to experiment with unusual varieties will make things even more interesting.
This might be the first ever corporate community garden for TELUS, but I have a feeling it won’t be the last! I’m excited to see what more can be done when we move into our new homes in Vancouver and Calgary.
Congratulations again to our Green Team and to everyone who worked so hard to make our first TELUS community garden such a great success. And, thanks to Massimo and his team for such a delicious meal.