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Growing again in 2021... Re-envisioning the GARDENS Pod Project

Tags: Issue 4, June 2021

April showers may have brought about May flowers, however for the GARDENS Pod Project, it brought a beautiful time to plant vegetable seeds and seedlings.

The GARDENS Lakeshore is a community project that addresses food insecurity in South Etobicoke (Ward 3) by growing produce and donating it back to the community through the Daily Bread Food Bank and LAMP CHC Good Food Market and free educational workshops that address food security, gardening, nutrition and more.

On May 26 and 27, 2021, the team prepped and planted nine pod site locations across South Etobicoke. These included Birds and Beans Café, Lakeshore Environmental Gardening Society at The Daily Bread Foodbank, LAMP Community Health Centre, LAMP Early Childcare Centre, Humber College - Lakeshore Campus, Father John Redmond Catholic School, Toronto Public Library - Long Branch, James S. Bell Junior Middle School, and CF Sherway Mall (New Site). The project is being funded this year through the Humber College Community Partnership Fund, Humber’s Office of the Principal and LAMP CHC.

The project has overcome the COVID-19 related challenges, by being very adaptable and re-envisioning its operations and educational elements.

Notably in 2021, the project has been able to offer more Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities with the support of Canada Summer Jobs, for four paid seasonal positions (2 Project Coordinators and 2 Operations Site Coordinator positions) for Humber College students in the International Development and Community Development Programs. Also, more opportunities will be added later in the summer for creative projects with students from The Faculty of Media & Creative Arts (FMCA).

LAMP CHC (Project partner) will continue to offer free educational workshops virtually with the hope of some in-person programming later this summer, once public health guidelines permit. Workshops are set to launch in July 2021. A new twelve-month program that will focus on food waste and diversion strategies, rethinking food waste, saving money, changing behaviour and inspiring community residents to action, is being introduced to residents with funding from the City of Toronto, Live Green, Waste Management Department.

Flowers growing in a box planter

Soil in a wheelbarrow

Follow us on Social Media throughout the summer to follow our planting progress:

Two coordinators planting

Project Coordinator - Cluster 1, Asna Saeed (left) and Event Coordinator and Community Liaison, Kavelle Maharaj (right) planting.

Lynn Short and Stephanie Gonyea planting native plants

In partnership with Indigenous Education and Engagement, Lynn Short (right) and student Operations Site Coordinator, Stephanie Gonyea (left) planting native plants for the indigenous garden on the top planter at Humber College Lakeshore Campus.

Carly Spragg planting a marigold on the front edge of Humber College raised bed planters

Advisory council Member Carly Spragg plants a marigold on the front edge of Humber College raised bed planters among vegetable seedlings. Other GARDENS team members tend to the upper raised bed planting native plants for the Indigenous Garden with Humber Indigenous Education and Engagement.

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