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US (NC): Durham College, Region launch Barrett Centre urban farm in Ajax

An urban farm with its roots in Durham College’s Whitby campus has found a new – albeit temporary – home in Ajax. The school, in partnership with Invest Durham (the Region’s Economic Development and tourism division), broke ground on the new location for the Barrett Centre of Innovation in Sustainable Urban Agriculture on October 6 at the corner of Harwood Avenue and Rossland Road in north Ajax.

The Barrett Centre was launched at Durham College’s Skills Centre in September 2021, thanks to the support of The Barrett Family Foundation, with a vision to become an internationally recognized hub of excellence in urban agricultural practices, research, education, and training. This included a working urban farm and an education and research program to turn undeveloped land in Durham into an active farm that supports the community.

The Regional property is being provided on an interim basis to create and operate the urban farm, which will introduce new educational programs and training; provide support and coaching about urban agriculture initiatives for traditionally underserved and marginalized communities; and build a team of highly respected experts to establish the Region as an internationally recognized center of innovation in sustainable urban agriculture.

“Durham College is a recognized leader in urban agriculture education,” said Foundation spokesperson Bob Barrett. “The vision to modernize and replicate their current model of urban farming into a regional, national and global entity is very impressive and innovative. Our investment in the college and creation of The Barrett Centre will allow them to scale their operations into a global hub for urban agriculture knowledge and best practices.”

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