Community Gardens: As Local As It Gets
We love community gardens. They’re a great place to grow food locally, to get outside, to meet your neighbours, to learn about where your food comes from, and to open up a dialogue about our communities and environment.
They seem to be sprouting up everywhere, which makes us excited (because we love food that can be eaten by taking only a few steps). And it’s thanks to a variety of organizations and initiatives that are helping seed the projects and get many initiatives off the ground. We might just have to get our own hands dirty soon!
There are loads of community gardens around our hometown of Toronto, but FoodCycles stood out for us because of its unique projects that turn food waste into quality compost, cutting air pollution by 22 tonnes per year. Their food cycle is an intricate closed loop: the farm grows fish, which are fed by the plants grown there, then the fish waste is used to feed the plants.
The garden also has a massive worm bank, which turns food scraps into rich, usable soil for theirs and other gardens throughout the city. They’ve also just put a CSA into place, and they continue to grow and expand their services. FoodCyles is helping create employable skills and hands on training, to create jobs, to teach, to offer exercise and therapy, and to inspire. And that’s all being done, right in the city of Toronto.
Hellman’s is not the usual local food suspect, but they caught our attention when we were down at Fort York for the Conscious Food Festival. We were thrilled to see a sprawling garden there, which was organized by Evergreen, and funded by Hellman’s through their Eat Real, Eat Local campaign, which is working across Canada to encourage us to eat real, local food. The two organizations actually co-established the Hellmann’s Urban Gardens program back in 2008, when they began awarding garden plots to Canadians in major cities across the country. The Fort York garden is 38-plots big, connects to actual soldiers’ gardens from the early 1800s and puts this land back into agricultural production.
We’re already planning our global warming office party on October 10, 2010 as part of 10/10/10, but 350.org has tons of other ideas on how we can help reduce our impact on climate change. 350.org is a worldwide campaign building solutions for the climate crisis, and one of our favourite suggestions is implementing more community gardens. You can be a part of the solution too on October 10, 2010 in your community, by taking the Community Garden Challenge. We took a peek at the Toronto Community Garden Network where the featured garden is the Parkview Community Garden, built in 2008 with the help of hundreds of volunteers. This is only one of hundreds in Toronto alone, but there are thousands of these projects across Canada and North America, like in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and more (even Northwest Territories!). Here’s an example of one community in Sonoma County, taking the challenge. Are you up for the challenge?
If you don’t have green thumbs sprouting from your hands, not to worry; eating locally is still possible. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a hot ticket item these days; Some of the GreenHeroes team members are a part of one (one actually works for a CSA!), and here’s why. We buy a share of a farming operation – this means we’re buying in to the benefits reaped from the farm, but also sharing the potential risks of a bad harvest. Every month, a box is dropped at our door, filled with fruits and veggies usually picked the day before. It seems silly to most of us that we ever bought fruits and veggies from as far away as China and Australia, what with such a lush countryside surrounding us overflowing with bounties of fresh food. Nothing beats the excitement of opening up the monthly CSA box to see what’s in season and what we’ll be cooking up next!
You can find a local CSA in your community here.
You can find local markets in your community here.
Learn what’s in season, now, but clicking here.
Got ideas for what our 10/10/10 party should look like? Where would you like to see the GreenHeroes partying on October 10, 2010? Leave a comment below!
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