During the growing season of 2022, Leaside Park Community Garden (“LPCG”) donated the Garden’s fresh organic produce to TNO Food Collaborative, and thus in part, addressing food insecurity. Very often, community members complimented the Garden. On several occasions, adorable kids asked if they could get some tomatoes. Other kids indicated that they would like to volunteer when they grow up.
The neighbourhood seniors were attracted to this remarkable Garden. Even the dogs appreciated the Garden, as the dog owners indicated that their dogs always went to their favourite spots surrounding it.
Some people enquired if they could buy the vegetables and I took this opportunity to express LPCG’s donation to TNO Food Collaborative. I also mentioned that they could purchase organic vegetables at Flemo Farm’s weekly Saturday Market. LPCG is a community garden on City of Toronto-owned land and a wonderful place for community building. As we are in a diversified community, the exchange of vegetable knowledge and cultural values is something that we often cannot learn from books.
As I also volunteer at the Food Collaborative, it was a joy to witness clients describing the unique vegetables and sharing the applicable recipes with those who had no knowledge of other cultural vegetables that had been introduced to the community. LPCG was also awarded the City of Toronto pollinator grant. As pollinators are on the decline, native plants that appeal to all kinds of pollinators were planted, plants such as the Swamp Milkweed and Dense Blazing Start are perennials, native to North America and were wonderful in attracting pollinators such as Monarch Butterflies.
When my senior bones ached, I felt better after some light physical work and sunlight intake in the Garden. When I was stressed, a couple of hours in the Garden were therapeutic for me. When I dug the soil, I felt connected to nature when the worms (that are so important for the soil) surfaced and I was grateful to see the vegetation flower and transform into organic vegetables for consumption and sharing. It is very important to work within the Rules and Guidelines of LPCG as this will enable all to respect and cooperate with each other and foster goodwill within the Garden. Also, when we follow Guidelines or provide constructive suggestions, we enable Ishrat (LPCG’s garden coordinator) to operate within a healthy environment and provide the necessary support.
This year, gardeners and volunteers worked hard work at this progressive organic vegetable garden. A volunteer donated soil, others donated seeds and seedlings. As LPCG does not have any specific funding besides the financial & staff support from TNO- The Neighborhood Organization, my end-of-the-year wish is to Hope for Funding to further improve the productivity of Leaside Park Community Garden.
Special thank you to guest contributor Joyce Chew (Community Gardner-Leaside Community Gardens)