2021 Greener Greenspace Profile
Mill Courtland Community Centre
Located in Kitchener, ON, the garden beds at Mill Courtland Community Centre were created using regenerative and restorative practices that support biodiversity, soil health and wildlife.
Design and Process
Designed by ecological landscape designer and educator Nicola Thomas of Grand River Food Forest, in collaboration with community volunteer stewards, the garden beds on the community centre grounds yield organic food in raised beds, as well as habitat and food for wildlife. The garden spaces provide refuge for numerous species through the deliberate building of biodiverse ecosystems. The gardens are filled with native plants and other pollinator perennials that thrive in their zone, which in turn requires less long-term maintenance.
The soil structure is protected from tilling. Mulch is applied to stop sun, wind and rain erosion of the soil. There is less watering than in a conventional garden given the use of the ‘Lasagna technique’ and the mulch that holds water therefore diverting it from overwhelming water sheds.
The project to create gardens at Mill Courtland Community Centre began four years ago. Today, the gardens provide free nutritious food and medicinal herbs for the public and a community gathering place for environmental education awareness. As a regenerative land care business, Grand River Food Forest disseminated information to the community on why, how and what to do to create and maintain rich, biodiverse and abundant gardens.
The pollinator gardens are a focal point in the neighbourhood for sharing resources, as well as engaging and connecting community members on ecological gardening techniques. In total, there are more than thirty food forest and pollinator garden sites and each site is stewarded by the community volunteers who live within walking distance of the centre.
Since creating the garden beds the community has since added an outdoor ping pong table and built a cob oven with a garden constructed around it. There has been so much community engagement and at any time you can walk by and see either people or wildlife at play.
For more information on Grand River Food Forestry, visit their website.
Greener Greenspaces is a recognition program for sites from across Canada that exemplify greener greenspace stewardship. The aim of the program is to showcase examples of ecologically-focused land care as a means to inspire others and to further the movement across Canada.