See also Site Map
To cultivate healthy, locally produced food and a dynamic, engaged community.
To provide a welcoming space for sharing knowledge, promoting healthy lifestyles and nurturing relationships.
We are guided by respect for diversity, the vital connections between social and ecological systems, and the historical farming significance of the garden site.
In 2008, Willowdale Councillor John Filion headed up a working group with Rob Leverty of the Ontario Historical Society to realize his vision of a market garden growing fresh local produce for the community. With community input and the support of Toronto’s “Clean and Beautiful” program, City staff, service groups, community animators and volunteers, the garden took root in a vacant lot beside the historic John McKenzie House.
On May 23rd, 2009, over 100 volunteers participated in the first planting day, and the following week, the first volunteer Steering Committee formed.
In our first year, we created a beautiful and productive garden. We sold over $500 of produce to the community, from a street-front stand, and used the proceeds to fund this year's garden. We donated food to shut-ins and those in need, and made connections with a food bank. We benefited from links with schools and service groups: volunteers from the North York Community House Host Program visited weekly for an hour of gardening and and hour of English conversation.
We trained inexperienced gardeners to be group leaders, and we mentored and supervised 2 high school students towards their community service credits.
We hosted social events, such as a Strawberry Social and a Corn Roast, and participated in Councillor Filion’s Harvest Festival.
As the season went along, we hosted a Seed Savers workshop, and a FoodShare talk on Urban Agriculture.
We have built up a mailing list of over 100 volunteers and started a website and a library of gardening books.
Presently, the staff from Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation are extending the garden north into the McKenzie Parkette, using our design. .
Volunteers are always welcome
No experience necessary! You choose when to work....
We can accommodate many different age groups, and abilities. What would you like to do?
You can work in the garden or sell produce. Or share your expertise: mentor a beginner or lead a work crew, help design the garden and choose what we will grow, or, research heirloom vegetables and historical gardens.
If you like to write, take pictures, paint, or sculpt you can 'tell the story of the garden'. As well, you can give tours and information to visitors and new volunteers or translate for them. This year, we are hoping to start a yoga-in-the-garden group, and also a special family gardening time.
If you have a special skill -for example, one of our volunteers is currently experimenting with thermogenic composting and vermicomposting - you can contribute your documented research to the website, as well, if you are skilled you can share your graphic designs. We are open to fund-raising activities and ideas, as well as administrative support, or communications. You can also take on a leadership role on the Steering Committee.