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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Grand River Regional Cancer Centre
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 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.
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.
FOOD ACCESS PROGRAMS
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.
“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).
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
The Hope Centre Community Garden
For more information, contact Gina Couldery, Food Security Coordinator, at 905-788-0744.
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.
Installed in 2005, by the House of Lazarus, this volunteer-run garden provides fresh produce to food bank clients. (All Things Food, 2011).
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.”