This year, I vowed I’d do my mother proud and learn to garden. Apart from acquiring a new skill, it’s important to feel connected to the natural process of producing food, and maybe even save some money. Being a renter in the city, a decent patch of soil is hard to come by. To my excitement, I found that the city is bursting with options for community-collaborated gardens open to those with a spectrum of experience. It’s also worth noting that community gardens not only empower locals to cultivate their own food, but often revitalize areas of the city and inspire volunteerism.
Interested in getting involved? Explore these established gardens in the city or start your own!
(Photo by Batara via Flickr Creative Commons)
This garden is run entirely by volunteers and is tucked away in the east end of the city on the property of an adult education school. Started in 1994, the garden also accepts compostable foods and other biodegradable materials from locals. Membership is through application and supported solely by participants and donors. For this reason, the community garden doesn’t offer a full suite of workshops as other programs do.
(Photo by H.O.P.E Community Gardenvia Flickr Creative Commons)
H.O.P.E is an acronym for Healthy, Organic Parkdale Edibles. A part of the South Parkdale community for nearly ten years, the H.O.P.E Community Garden is a free 4,000 square foot space on Cowan Ave at Queen Street West. Home to around 100 community gardeners, family, friends and members of Greenest City grow organic food and beautiful flowers. Gardeners are encouraged to take part in workshops, parties, art projects and potlucks in the park, but there is a lengthy waiting list to join.
To name only three would be an injustice, so for a more detailed map of gardens and other programs around the city, explore these amazing resources:
SCADDING COURT COMMUNITY CENTRE
Around since the late 70s, this 55,000 square foot facility at Bathurst and Dundas has a social/recreational focus that encourages the local community to determine the services and activities it offers. They have an Urban Agricultural Program that includes garden plots, a community greenhouse and composting. The plots are rented for $20 a season, with $15 being refunded after successful season-end cleanup. Participants are also encourage to donate a row of produce to a local food bank.
(Photo by Anastasios Fakinos via Flickr Creative Commons)
From a map of current Toronto community gardens to fun local events, this website is run by an energetic group of individuals interested in sustaining a healthy garden movement in the city ‘one root at a time.’ Look for volunteer opportunities and explore tools and resources to aid your green thumb.
(Photo by Chris Lee via Flickr Creative Commons)
This is one of The Stop Community Food Centre’s many initiatives that help increase access to healthy food and build the community. The program connects people seeking land to grow organic produce with people willing to share their space. They offer a tool-lending library, free workshops, free seedlings and the opportunity to learn from other gardeners.