Our New TV Show Needs Your Help

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Hello Friends,

This isn’t the sort of thing I normally post, or would make public so early in the process, but I need some help so here it goes…

I am working with a team to create a new television program (I am the host) and we need to shoot some footage. Unfortunately, it is winter here in Toronto, which means it is very cold and there is a lot of snow. To make matters worse, I moved late last fall and my new garden is nearly non-existant at this point… a blank slate minus the pear tree and a bunch of garlic and flowering bulbs we put in before the snow came and the ground froze. Our yard is not even remotely flat so we need to wait for the thaw before we can attempt to level it out enough to build raised beds, cold frames, and the like. As a result we have absolutely nothing of interest (at least in the garden) to shoot and we need to start in the first week of April. Oh and to top it off I will be on the road book promoting through much of the month of March so we’re stuck there, too.

The show is about urban food production, but not exclusively gardening or growing, although it will certainly feature growing.

Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • Someone WITHIN urban Toronto (as in, I have to be able to bike there from my home or it doesn’t count. I think we might be able to extend it out as far as Scarborough/Etobicoke/Mississauga because I *could* in theory bike there if it were not the winter and I was in better shape! Ha!) who is growing or producing some of their food over the winter.
  • You are passionate about the subject. Passion is good.
  • You are willing to appear on camera and what you are doing must be “camera ready.” This doesn’t mean perfect, shiny, or glossy…. just that there is enough of interest to capture. We want the audience to be wowed and transformed about what is possible in the city or their own homes.
  • We’d really like to feature urban chickens but of course it is winter (off-season) and illegal in Toronto, so you must be aware of the possibility that being on camera with chickens could result in negative consequences. We wish this was not the case but it is still the situation here in Toronto right now.

We are interested in other modes of food production, too, including but not limited to:

  • Maple syrup production (possibly too late by April)
  • Canning
  • Mushroom growing
  • Ice fishing
  • Growing indoors (large scale/commercial production or feeding your family), but must be organic
  • Cold frame, seasonal extending, etc if you happen to have something going by some form right now.
  • You name it!

Please feel free to comment here or if you’d like to be private, just email me through the contact form. I will see it and get back to you.

Thanks for your help!

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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24 thoughts on “Our New TV Show Needs Your Help

  1. Why not try contacting Lorraine Johnson, Toronto-based author of _City Farmer_ and proud mother of three urban chickens (she writes about them in her book, so the illegal chicken is already very publicly out of the bag, as it were)…

  2. Thanks! And hey, new pic Sarah!

    Jessie: Yes, I know Lorraine well. She is a friend and a terrific writer and promoter of urban food production.

    Colleen: I think lots of US show hosts are knowledgable, but they are mostly over-sanitized. Gardening is fun, dirty, hilarious, crazy, and sometimes hard work. REAL people garden. Not people with manicured nails and coiffed hairdos. But I also know from experience that TV is tough, tough work… You’re outside for long hours rain or shine… It’s exhausting, stressful, and it takes its toll. I’m a lot less judgmental than I once was, yet I’d also like to see more…. something that is passionate, exciting, different, and more reflective of where myself and many others are coming from.

  3. Have shared this on Cubit’s facebook page and sent some messages to some chicken people.

    If you just need seed starting I’m almost up and running. I’m organic, but the seedlings won’t be certified. We feed our family and grow more than the average gardener since I’m growing for farmer’s markets and such this year.

    You can decide if I’m shiny enough from the foodland ontario video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vw1Nz0mYSs

    Congrats Gayla, this sounds like a really great project and I’d be glad to help however I can.

  4. This sounds like it’s going to be fun. Congrats!
    For maple sugar production, the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority usually has some sort of maple syrup festival – ah, here: http://www.maplesyrupfest.com/
    This year it runs until April 10th, so you might be able to work out something with them :)

  5. wow this is such an amazing project. The book promoting is on grow great grub? Or is it on a new book? I really hope that you find a spot to film good luck.

  6. Gayla, this is awesome! You should get in touch with Not Far From the Tree for maple syrup, although you’re right, it will likely be March, not April. (@nfftt)

  7. Dude, this is super exciting. I live extremely far from awesome Toronto, but am very keen to see what happens with this project. Wish we had TV this cool down here. Rooting for you.

  8. Ciao Gayla-

    You know you can always count on me to volunteer for these things, cara. I have leeks over-wintering in the garden right now and my rhubarb is one of the first things to come up, so it should at least be up by April. Also, I plan to push up some of my outdoor direct-sowing to 1 April – peas, lettuces, roots and starting to harden off the brassicas including several different Asian greens. We plan to use row covers, but we may not have sprouts yet. The grow-op downstairs will be in full swing and then there’s the cellar which stores all of my canning boxes.

    Let me know if I can help. It sounds fantastic!

  9. I live too far from Toronto (and rurally now too) but I’m super excited about the possibility of a TV show encouraging people to grow food in the city. I wish you the best of luck with finding locations, filming, and getting it onto TV! If you’re ever in Eastern Ontario, and want a city transplant turning a blank slate into garden, give me a shout! (Is it going to be on network television? I’m hoping to cancel the satellite so that I’ll have more $ for garden purchases!)

  10. So, wish I was out in Toronto. I started last year with 4 5X5 SFG plots in the middle of a basically xeriscaped yard to avoid using too much water. I used a combo of the Mel’s book and your book to guide me through….beginners luck we had an awesome harvest. I’m so inspired now that I’ve got the seedlings on the window sill hoping for the micro greens.

    Good luck with the show and thanks you so much for the inspiration.

  11. I didn’t know that chickens were illegal in Toronto. I imagine watching your show and seeing little black bars over the each chicken’s eyes or pixelated chickens pecking around a garden. lol
    Good luck. Hope I’ll be able to catch this on-line some where. Congrats!

  12. The TV show sounds great—it’ll be really cool to see something promoting all kinds of different garden explorations and experiment.

    I’ll have to share the link with some folks here in North Carolina.

  13. I’m nowhere near Toronto, so I’m no help, but I wanted to say GOOD LUCK! A TV show like what you’re describing sounds awesome and just the kind of thing people would like. I mean, I love gardening, and I love hearing about it and basically anything to do with it, but the garden-related shows I’ve seen are just kind of. . . “Better Homes and Gardens”, need-a-crew-to-make-it-work-kinda gardening. Removed and sanitized, in a way. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to seeing your future TV show. =)

  14. congrats Gayla! that’s such an exciting project. you’re right – TV is a lot of work and long hours but it will all be worth it when you see the finished product.

    I can’t believe urban chickens are illegal! I’m with Ambi – imagining them with identity protection pixellation!

  15. I don’t know what your travel budget is, but we have an urban farm here in Columbia, SC, that is absolutely amazing. Their site is http://www.cityroots.org/ . They grow mushrooms, have a tilapia tank in the greenhouse, raise chickens and ducks. Super, super, cool.

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