08/29/2013 10:34 EDT | Updated 10/29/2013 05:12 EDT

Thorncliffe Park volunteers harvest unique garden pilot project

A group of gardeners in one of Toronto's most densely populated neighbourhoods were harvesting vegetables and herbs on Thursday as part of a unique pilot project aimed at providing increased local access to fresh produce.

"We are trying to encourage healthy eating (and) put more focus on local produce," said Sabina Ali, a member of the Thorncliffe Park Women's Committee.

The community, near Don Mills Road and Eglinton Ave East, is home to more than 30,000 people who live in high-rise buildings spread across two square kilometres.

Close to a dozen women living there spent the summer caring for a garden grown completely in EarthBoxes - an innovative design that allows crops to grow in a container under any condition.

The CBC's Kimberley Gale said one of the reasons Thorncliffe was selected for the pilot project is because residents have limited access to grocery stores that are within walking distance.

The EarthBox was developed by a tomato farmer in Florida and has been taken around the world by a Canadian working for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization.

Premier, and Minister of Agriculture, Kathleen Wynne was in attendance on Thursday and said she too supports the initiative because it encourages greater access.

"Making sure we find ways to promote local food in every community. Whether people live in tall skyscraping buildings or on the farm," Wynne said. "This can be expanded across the province because what I hear from farmers is they see new markets and new products that can be grown in Ontario."