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Startup Club: Fresh City Farms

Shalom Life speaks to Ran Goel, founder of Toronto-based Fresh City Farms, on challenging the status quo with their local, organically produced foods, delivered right to your doorstep

By: Daniel Koren
Published: December 18th, 2013 in Business » World
Eat local and organic with Fresh City Farms

Over the past few decades, a growing number of small businesses involved in various industries have popped up around the world meeting the needs of an ever-growing, ever-changing market.

Jewish businessmen and innovators continue to excel throughout these industries, displaying their prowess as creative, forward-thinking entrepreneurs, and tapping into continuously developing markets with 'startup' companies.

In a bid to recognize these decorated entrepreneurs for their ongoing contributions and advancements to these fields, Shalom Life is pleased to present: Startup Club, highlighting the best and the brightest of Jewish entrepreneurs who continue to provide our community with new, influential and innovative ideas that will forever change the way we interact with the world, and with one another.

Follow our lead and we’ll follow yours – send us tips or suggestions via email, comment below or tweet us @ShalomLife, in our mission to celebrate the most visionary of Jewish entrepreneurs.


Business: Fresh City Farms

Based Out Of: Toronto

Entrepreneur: Ran Goel

Industry: Local Farming

Our current food production system is not working.

Thus is the opening statement presented by Fresh City Farms, an urban farm that provides their members with fresh, local, organic produce year-round, providing a market to city farmers, and raising awareness about sustainable food production.

Fresh City offers a substitute not only to fast-food dinners and late-night snacking, but also introduces their customers to a brand new way of living, eating well, and reconnecting people to farming. For most urban residents, farming is usually the last word they associate with eating, or the word 'food'; with Fresh City, however, city dwellers, suburbanites, mid-towners and the like can receive a Fresh City bag, containing local, organic produce brought directly to their doorstep from farms that exist within the city of Toronto.

Fresh City strives to play a role in challenging the status quo

To learn more about their operation and the Fresh City way of life, we caught up with Israeli-born Fresh City founder Ran Goel, once a practising lawyer in New York city, who abandoned the life for his current role of farmer/entrepreneur/environmentalist.

"I practised law for around four years, and while it was experience I wanted to have, it was not for the long term," Goel explains. "I love food, and my grandparents would always talk about life on the moshav [settlement], milking the cows, watering the orange groves, etc., and I think that just rubbed off on me. I wanted to start something in the food world, and considering the challenges we have right now, like growing obesity, chemicals being used to make our food, many energy fossil fuels being used, or simply buying oil from regimes that would support Israel, these all touched me directly or indirectly and I wanted to make a contribution."

The contribution, it appeared, would be introducing the raw kibbutznik-like mentality he inherited from his grandparents to residents of the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.

"To me growing food in the city connects people to how food is made in a very relatable way," says Goel. "I don't think people understand what it takes to grow food, and not to modify it for taste or flavour, but to eat it organically. I started Fresh City so we could have that potential to connect people back to food. The rest was details on how we can make it grow in a significant way."


It seems to be working. In 2011, Fresh City started farming over at Downsview Park with about half an acre. Beginning early 2014, Fresh City Farms will be growing organic produce in close to 6 acres, that's approximately 250,000 square feet. "The growth has been tremendous," exclaims Goel, and "we're serving more and more to the community."

From Toronto's Farm to Your Table

The numbers would agree. In their first week, Fresh City, brandishing a convenient and confident motto - "We deliver local, organic food right to your door" - had 12 members receiving produce. Currently, they're serving to over 1,200 homes, which is roughly 3,000 people. The company's success has been growing organically (pun intended), through word of mouth, Facebook, and of course, tons of events that have been sprouting up in and around the GTA.

Continue reading on Page 2

Related articles: Startup Club, Fresh City Farms, Ran Goel, Organic, Foods,
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