COIL Stories

OASIS Ecosmart Urban Microfarm Network :

Community-Led Circular Transitions

Colleaga logo
St James Town Community Co-op
Orbital Farm
HiGarden Bio
Nature Harmony Logo
Plants growing in Oasis garden with two young farmers.

The OASIS Microfarm Network is a controlled-environment urban farm “living laboratory” that fosters food security and job creation, enables skills-training, supports data infrastructure and provides resources to promote the development and commercialization of technology-driven solutions. The OASIS circular economy model empowers the diverse low-income high-rise community of St. James Town, Toronto to become self-sustaining and more resilient by taking part in growing healthy nutritious food for their families and communities.

Operations map of Oasis Microfarm network including a hub and spoke netork of microfarms connecing with central growing and nurseries. These are supported by a marketplace, data and technology supports and research and analytics.

The Impact

Carbon Reduction: a centralized microfarm network that can scale across high-rise apartments significantly reduces greenhouse gas projections, particularly from the food miles of conventional food purchases.

Community Well-Being: initiatives that start with a community need and are led by communities themselves are the most successful in achieving long-term support, well-being and sovereignty for community members.

Open Sourced Knowledge: the scaling potential of the microfarm network across similar high-rise communities will be possible in large part due to the open-source approach that the team will be using so that other communities can apply a similar model in their local context and build upon the work.

How they made it work

Centre the Community: building a regenerative economy with circular technologies grounded in inclusive community-building requires long-term commitment, specialized skills, meaningful engagement and relationship-building to come together.

Living Lab: Colleaga’s Living Laboratory model of bringing multiple partners and diverse skill sets to the table ensured access to advanced technologies, skills and capabilities that are typically not accessible for social enterprise teams, including SROI impact measurement, data infrastructure, etc.

Centralize Mechanics: yield optimization proved highest in a distributed indoor farm by centralizing the seed germination in a central growing zone until crop maturation before transplanting to apartment microfarms.


Oasis team photo
Funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario