#7 – JACOB KEAREY-MORELAND
HOMETOWN: ORILLIA, ONTARIO
If you live in the greater Toronto area, you may have heard the “buzz” about Jacob Kearey-Moreland. This 25 year-old Toronto resident has a passion for social and environmental responsibility and an affinity for gardening puns. He has successfully spearheaded community based agricultural projects in Toronto and Orillia, all while infusing creative slogans that have captured the interest of local communities.
Jacob grew up surrounded by green-minded people. While living in Toronto, his family practiced sustainable living through the cultivation of a patio garden and a variety of recycling and reusing DIY projects. When his family moved to a farm in Orillia, Jacob was further able to get his hands dirty, helping tend to their large vegetable garden. His experiences helped him gain an appreciation for nature that is all too often lacking in young people born and raised in urban centres.
In 2011, during the height of the Occupy movement, he organized a guerrilla gardening project, Occupy Gardens Toronto, aimed at creating gardens in public spaces around Toronto. While the famous “People’s Peas Garden” in Queen’s Park was uprooted by city officials, five months after it was planted, many other gardens the collective planted are flourishing and the seeds of SOILidarity continue to inspire gardeners near and far.
His most recent and noteworthy project is the Toronto Seed Library (TSL). Jacob was inspired by the idea of seed banks and tool libraries. Borrowers plant seeds, see them mature, let some of what grows go to seed, and return the seeds to the library. As a permaculture-informed design, not only does the seed library naturally grow its seed stock, it is self-replicating. Across Toronto, 10 seed library locations have sprouted in a year. TSL enables the sharing of seed, educates people on food issues and gardening, and provides Toronto with a buffer against the proliferation of genetically modified seeds. Partners include such high-profile organizations as the Toronto Public Library and the University of Toronto. TSL is yet another effective project that has involved hundreds of people, has a strong public face, is productive, helps preserve the environment, and has practical implications for local people and communities.
Jacob has great ideas, makes them real, sees them through, ensures maximum impact, and empowers people by involving them in meaningful action. All of this work has built towards and serves what Jacob sees as his life’s mission to decommodify food and make food universally accessible. Jacob hopes to develop a national food strategy that will feature all his previous work and more. This strategy will include regeneration of local food systems, promotion of food security, and free food for all. Jacob’s strong portfolio of successful past work, his nature-inspired thinking and strategies, and his boundless ambition in service of nature make him one of Canada’s top environmentalists under 25.
The Starfish Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 Magazine showcases the 25 finalists from 2014 with longer articles, new pictures, and captivating stories from across Canada.