Examples from Ontario initiatives

If you know of an example of on-site production in your area, please send us a link, or post it in the ‘comment’ box, below.

SCHOOLS / UNIVERSITIES

St. Paul’s Community Garden is located on the campus of St. Paul’s University College at the University of Waterloo.  Officially opened in May 2014, the goal of the garden is to raise awareness about sustainable food systems, encourage community-building, and to provide access to fresh local foods. It sprung from the ideas of an undergraduate student who is a member of the St. Paul’s GreenHouse program, a social innovation hub, and Meal Exchange’s Ontario Campus Food Systems Project, which strives to build more local and sustainable food systems on campus. “Encouraging food production opportunities on campus and allowing students to get their hands dirty’ is a very important part of the mission” (Salt, 2014).  St. Paul’s Community Garden has successfully partnered with its food service provider, Chartwells, to provide their cafeteria with garden produce at market value. Revenue from the sales get redirected back to the garden to ensure sustainability. A portion of the revenue also gets donated to INDEVOURS, to support placements of International Development students. Supporters of the garden hope it can be an example for other university campuses across the country – “this is so much more than just gardening; this is about creatings ystemic change!” (Salt, 2014).

For more information, email stpcommunitygarden@gmail.com or visit them on Facebook.

Canadian Organic Growers school gardens 

Growing Up Organic (GUO) is a project of the Canadian Organic Growers Ottawa-St.Lawrence-Outaouais Chapter. “GUO is focused on empowerment: through [their] strategic focus on education, [they] hope to foster a generation of children and youth with greater food literacy, life-long healthy eating habits, increased food skills and an understanding of environmental health issues.” (COG, 2014).

GUO has four components: schoolyard gardens, garden workshops, farm field trips, and a seasonal harvest program.

  1. GUO partners with schools across the region to establish vegetable gardens that act as outdoor classrooms, delivering experiential learning across disciplines and grade levels. Click here to see a list of schools involved.

  2. A series of garden workshops linked to the Ontario curriculum are offered in the spring and fall. The workshops are linked to necessary garden tasks, ensuring students are connected to all the processes of garden construction and maintenance. Visit the COG website for details on workshops offered.

  3. GUO connect schools with local organic farms to facilitate farm field trips, cooking workshops, and/or farmer visits to the school.  These opportunities allow students to gain understanding of organic food production and preparation, completing the cycle from farm to plate.

  4. Partnering with Healthy Eating for Better Learning, the Seasonal Harvest Program aims to increase consumption of local organic food in Ottawa schools, raise awareness, build meaningful relationships between farmers and schools, and to create long-term institutional demand and market opportunities for local food.

The Potato Project, a youth-led initiative, was created in 2012 because GUO students wanted to share their produce with the community. Students grow potatoes in vertical barrels to donate to local food banks. Click here to see a video and article on the Potato Project.

COG has been a recipient of the Ontario Trillium Foundation in the past 6 years. However, with funding coming to an end, COG is currently trying to raise funds to continue their programs and plan for long-term sustainability.

Visit the COG’s GUO website for more information. To read stories and see photos of the schools projects, visit GUO’s blog

 

Seaway District High School,  Iroquois Beach St, Iroquois 

In 2010, Seaway District High School received a grant of $20,000 from the Ministry of Education to establish a Specialist High Skills Major in agriculture. This program is offered to students entering grade 11, with opportunities to earn six industry recognized certificates,  two experiential learning activities, and two co-op placements in related fields. Click here to see details of the curriculum.
Interestingly, the program does not rely on an “agriculture” teacher, but integrates agricultural components into units of study within the school – called contextual learning activities. For example, students in biology will examine the relationship between genetics and crop science to improve yields and a math unit will focus on farm budgeting. Certified instructors are brought in to provide specialized skills training. The program became a very successful addition to the school. Principal Terry Gardiner (2012) says, “Our object is to make this a real and relevant experience. The more students we engage and interest, the more we hope to see graduate”.  Upon completing the program, graduates receive a red seal instead of the tradition seal to signify completion of the high skills major program.

 

KCI Green Industries Program

Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School’s (KCI) Green Industries (GI) program introduces students from grades 10 to 12 to various sectors, including agriculture, forestry, horticulture, floristry, and landscaping.  This program focuses on ecological awareness, environmental sustainability, and helps students understand where their food comes from. GI students participate in co-operative education and gain practical experience from real-world projects conducted at school or in the community. For more information about the curriculum, visit KCI’s Green Industries webpage.

To build the program, KCI received funding from municipal sources, local businesses, families, and the community. Now, students are enriched with diverse opportunities at the school: an orchard, a community garden, livestock, a greenhouse, a barn, and native gardens. Students sell produce and eggs to the community during market days; maple syrup from tapped trees; flowers during special occasions, handmade cheese and sauerkraut; and ducks and turkeys around Christmas time. All sale proceeds are reinvested back into the program. Students were also instrumental in building program infrastructure, such as a ground water harvest system and gardens. GI allow students to be involved in all aspects of the process, learning lessons that are rare in a highly urbanized centre. To see photos and videos of KCI’s Green Industries program, click here for the article.

Upsala Public School

The Children’s Garden at Upsala Public School, installed in 2008, is used by students from kindergarten to grade 8 to learn about food production, integrated into classes in Math, Health, Science, and Physical Education.

Garden management is embraced by the school and community. The entire school is involved in the garden’s day-to-day needs and student families sign up one week at a time to care for vegetables during the summer.  As expressed by a teacher, “the Children’s Garden project has garnered an enormous amount of parental interest and thoroughly engaged the kids through hands-on work and project ownership.  They plan to accommodate demand by expanding the garden next year, trying out some methods for extending the growing season and offering gardening workshops to parents and kids together”.

The garden features a fun element: a “pizza garden”, consisting of 6 triangular raised beds shaped like a pizza where only pizza ingredients are grown, including wheat. Students and teachers use the produce to make pizza at the end of each season. Harvests are eaten at school or sent home with the children. (Nutrients for Life, 2014).

 

TRAINING CENTRES

The Working Centre, GROW Gardens

The Working Centre is a non-profit organization inspired to give individuals and groups access to tools and opportunities to become involved in building the community in Kitchener-Waterloo and surrounding areas.The GROW Gardensprovide space for learning and training. Volunteers and interns produce hydroponic microgreens, aquaponic vegetables, seedlings, herbs and teas in the greenhouse and surrounding outdoor gardens, which are sold to local retail locations, restaurants, and incorporated into the Hacienda Market Garden CSA.

 “GROW has emerged as a tool for providing individuals with the opportunity to work cooperatively while supporting local production and trade. The goal is to learn how to produce local microgreens, living greens, teas, and other produce, while simultaneously fostering a deeper sense of community and providing individuals with self-help opportunities for creative livelihood beyond employment. [GROW] endeavor[s] to provide greater access to healthy and affordable foods in a locally sustainable way.” (The Working Centre, 2014).
For more information, contact Adam Kramer at 519-743-1151 ext. 113 or e-mailgrow@theworkingcentre.org.

The Working Centre, Hacienda Market Garden

The Working Centre is a non-profit organization inspired to give individuals and groups access to tools and opportunities to become involved in community building the community in Kitchener-Waterloo and surrounding areas. The Hacienda Market Garden was developed  as an inclusive teaching garden, to involve people in the work of the garden as well as teach skills about sustainable local food production and environmental stewardship. The project aims to:

  • Create beautiful and bountiful gardens

  • Teach urban food production

  • Develop sustainability through market produce sales

  • Offer fresh foods to those who participate in the garden community.

Hacienda Market Garden exists on a unique partnership between the Hacienda Sarria, an events venue, and The Working Centre. The significant land contribution made by the owner of Hacienda Sarria enabled a productive community market garden to be established. The land was upgraded with terraces, top soil, compost, fruit trees and approximately 20,000 square feet of gardening beds made available.

The goal is to use revenue generated from produce sales to maintain project sustainability. Markets of the garden produce are nearby restaurants and stores, a small CSA share program and a market stand at the Hacienda Sarria. Plans are in order to expand availability of this local produce to several other Kitchener neighbourhoods.

For more information, contact Kim Knowles or Adam Kramer at 519-575-1118 or email hacienda@theworkingcentre.org.

 

HOSPITALS

Grand River Regional Cancer Centre

http://www.grhosp.on.ca/takeatour

The Grand River Hospital’s Healing Garden is located at the Kitchener-Waterloo site, outside the Regional Cancer Centre. Accessible from dawn to dusk, the garden provides a tranquil environment for all visitors to use. Click here to see a video of the garden.

 

LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES

Glen Stor Dun Lodge, Cornwall

Glen Stor Dun Lodge is a 132-bed non-profit facility offering long term care and outreach services to citizens in the Cornwall community. The building provides social amenities and community areas. A garden with raised vegetable garden beds support a gardening program for interested residents in Special Care.

For more information, visit the City of Cornwall’s website.

OTHER HEALTH CARE

Peace Ranch is a community mental health agency on a 25-acre farm in Caledon, Ontario.  Supportive housing and social rehabilitation programs are offered to individuals with serious mental illness through animal-assisted therapies, horticulture, nutrition education, recreation, art and music.

Their Green Spaces program produces organic fruits and vegetables for residents and the centre’s healthy cooking and lifestyles program, called Rosie’s Kitchen.  Emphasis is placed on promoting good nutrition, socialization and physical fitness for participants. The Peach Ranch Market Garden further facilitates skills-building by providing paid seasonal work for people with mental illness living in the community and opportunities to learn about farming and horticulture. As a social enterprise, the Market Garden offers in-season produce for public sales.

Peace Ranch is funded by the Central West Local Health Integrated Network.

To learn more about the programs offered by Peace Ranch to support mental health recovery, visit their website at www.peachranch.com.

Sunshine Garden at CAMH

A partnership between FoodShare and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto created Sunshine Garden and Market in 2002. It is Canada’s first market garden on the grounds of a hospital.

The Sunshine Garden and Market is run as a recreational and therapeutic gardening program for all CAMH clients on a volunteer basis. During the summer, participants grow a variety of organic vegetables, herbs and native plants. In the winter months, they work in the greenhouse and learn from a variety of workshops on organic gardening. Through the program, participants gain valuable skills in a supportive setting. They develop gardening skills in planning, planting, watering, weeding, and composting. Cooking classes teach food preparation and preservation skills. They also learn transferable skills like teamwork and entrepreneurship. Many patients say it helps build self-confidence and restores a sense of hope and purpose to their day -to-day lives.

During harvest, the Market opens twice a week to the wider community. All funds raised are invested back into the program. In 2013, over 530 pounds of produce was harvested.

For more information, contact Sunshine Garden Coordinator, Liz Kirk at liz@foodshare.net or visit Foodshare’s website.

Learn more about the garden in this video, and see participant testimonials.

 

FOOD ACCESS PROGRAMS

Backyard Bounty in Guelph 

Backyard Bounty is an urban farming social enterprise connecting Guelph businesses and residents to local organic vegetables. Through the Grow Local Sponsorship Program, led by Backyard Bounty in partnership with the Guelph Food Bank, landowners in Guelph can donate farmland to be cultivated with organic vegetables for the Guelph Food Bank, providing locally-grown, fresh and nutritious food for families in need. In return, sponsors receive a charitable tax receipt from the Guelph Food Banks and is promoted through the Backyard Bounty website, social media, and community events.

For more information, contact Robert Orland at robertorland@backyardbounty.ca.

 

Salvation Army’s Kitchener Community Church (KCC) 

“The Salvation Army’s Kitchener Community Church (KCC) wanted to build relationships in their neighbourhood and address the ongoing need for fresh organic produce in the under-serviced area of Kitchener, so they decided to make the unused land adjacent to the church available for community use.  With these goals in mind, KCC has created a community garden that is able to provide up to 100 garden lots [ ].  Eight [lots are] used to produce a wide range of vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, squash and carrots for the food bank at The Salvation Army Kitchener Community & Family Services. The community garden is the latest outreach ministry designed to accomplish The Army’s mission ‘to meet human need and be a transforming influence in our communities’”.(Salvation Army, Ontario Great Lakes, 2014).

Receiving positive community reception, the garden project brings neighbours together, building a sense of community while providing a sustainable source of organic vegetables.
The garden received support from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and the City of Kitchener.  Ongoing participation from community members, schools, local businesses and volunteers will allow the garden to continue to thrive.
For more information contact Harriet Boyd at 519-894-7089 or Kitchener/Waterloo Community & Family Services at 519-745-4215.

 

Agapè Centre’s “Weeding Out Hunger” Vegetable Garden

This volunteer-run garden project, installed in 2010, supports the Agapè Centre food bank and soup kitchen to feed residents in need.  Land was donated by the Fountaingate Christian Assembly to be cultivated.  Not only does the Weeding Out Hunger Garden provide food, it also:

  • Teaches Agapè clients how to grow food

  • Encourages intermingling of all community members

  • Encourages self-reliance by growing fresh fruit and vegetables

  • Promotes vibrant communities

  • Inspires a healthier community

The Agapè Centre encourage clients from a variety of backgrounds to get involved. For more information, visit the  Agapè Centre website.

True Love in Christ Ministries, The People’s Garden

Coordinated by the True Love in Christ Ministries in 2011, plots are available for community members to use free of charge and produce from TLC Ministries plots are donated to community members and organizations. (All Things Food, 2011)

For more information, call 613-989-3042

Williamsburg Christian Reformed Church Garden

Coordinated by the Williamsburg Christian Reformed Church in 2011, the community garden produce goes to benefit the Dundas County Food Bank. (All Things Food, 2011)

For more information, visit the Williamsburg Christian Reformed Church website, or call 613-535-2227.   

The Hope Centre Community Garden

Located behind the Niagara Region Children’s Safety Village at Niagara College in Welland, harvests from two large communal plots benefit the Hope Centre kitchen and food bank. The Hope Centre provide emergency shelter for men and women. 25 smaller plots are also available at the garden for individuals interested in growing their own food, with surplus harvest donated to the Hope Centre.

For more information, contact Gina Couldery, Food Security Coordinator, at 905-788-0744.

http://thehopecentre.net/garden.html

 

Springbank Community Gardens

Located on the site of the rare Charitable Research Reserve, in Cambridge, the Springbank Community Gardens was established initially to promote the growth of local food and provide land access to people who wish to garden but do not have their own space.  The gardens have evolved successfully into mini communities where people get to meet others, new skills are learned, and fresh organic produce are made available to those who are food insecure in the community. The Springbank Community Gardens are composed of three areas:

  • 110 community rental plots

  • A 15,000 square feet food bank garden, benefiting the Cambridge Self Help Food Bank with over 2300 lbs of fresh produce donated in 2013.

  • A combination of raised and ground-level gardens demonstrating organic growing techniques to educate students and children visiting the site through rare’s school and summer camp programming throughout the year.

For more information, visit the rare Charitable Research Reserve website or contact Daniel Radoslav, the Garden Coordinator at 519-650-9336, ext. 115, ordaniel.radoslav@raresites.org.

 

House of Lazarus Community Resource Centre 

Installed in 2005, by the House of Lazarus, this volunteer-run garden provides fresh produce to food bank clients. (All Things Food, 2011).

For more information, visit the House of Lazarus website.

 

PRISONS

Thunder Bay Correctional Centre Greenhouse and Garden program 

http://www.chroniclejournal.com/content/news/local/2007/08/01/correctional-centre-inmates-reap-benefits

The Thunder Bay Correctional Centre has inmates working on its greenhouse and 14 garden patches to provide food and medicinal plants on-site for the facility and the greater community.

In development of the Thunder Bay waterfront, an agreement between the City and the Correctional Centre Greenhouse and Garden program would see inmates work on a healing garden to provide traditional Aboriginal medicines like sweetgrass, sage and cedar for use in the community. The centre would select inmates close to being released, which would be a good way to transition them back into the community.

The Industrial Officer from the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre identified effects of the program on participating inmates to be “very positive; participants express feelings of well-being and accomplishment because of their involvement and the new skills they’re developing.  Others have become so involved in “their” garden that they’re keeping in touch after their release, calling in to learn how their garden projects are progressing.”