2021 Greener Greenspace Profile
Food for Home = Food From Home
Located in Guelph, ON, the Food from Home = Food for Home community garden is a welcoming community hub with approximately 60 raised gardens, farm beds and a compost system in an open park area nestled between a high school and a health centre.
Design and Process
The Food from Home = Food for Home community garden focuses as much on biodiversity as on cultural diversity. Approximately 25 growers are involved each growing season, most of whom are newcomers to Canada. Information about the garden is spread through immigrant service agencies and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. The garden is close to a neighbourhood with a high population of Immigrants, so gardeners from there can walk or easily take public transport to the garden site. To make the garden welcoming and inclusive, the garden features a sitting area close to shade trees and a collection of country flags representing the home countries of the garden members.
Vegetables, herbs and vines are grown in large tubs and other raised beds. The gardeners select what to grow based on their preferences, cultural traditions and what grows well. At the start of the growing season, the garden coordinators ask what would be of interest to grow and then they sources seeds from various companies that specialize in foods from different parts of the world. Only organic, biodynamic and permaculture practices are used, and there’s a well-used two-bin compost system on-site to cycle nutrients and reduce waste.
Two garden coordinators are on-site two days a week and act as ‘agriculture coaches’ to support people to succeed in growing food and other activities such as saving seeds. The coordinators are attentive to the systemic barriers people face in accessing a community garden space to grow food and participate in community events. The coordinators actively work to mitigate these barriers and create a welcoming environment. Children are encouraged to participate in gardening activities. Learning from each other and sharing knowledge is a large part of this gardening initiative. One of the garden founders leads workshops on flowering plants and the role of pollinators. Throughout the growing season, gardeners share the responsibility of watering. A potluck is held at the end of the year to share food and recipes and enjoy socializing at the beautiful site.
The purpose of the garden is not only to reduce food insecurity by growing healthy, organic food, but it accomplishes other goals shared by the City of Guelph: to animate parks and green space, reduce food waste and provide opportunities for community members to connect.
Virtual tour of Food from Home = Food for Home
Presented by Karen Houle
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.