FoodShare is Located at 90 Croatia Ave. it is just south west of Bloor St. and Dufferin Ave.
It is one of the main supporters of the Toronto Community Garden Network, and their Food Animators are the ones that help Community Gardens get started.
So, it only makes sense that they should have their own community garden. Their garden was recommended to be a featured garden because of how quickly they were able to get the garden started. And how well the community group came together to work on the garden.
FoodShare is a non-profit food security organization with the mission of "Good Healthy Food For All." (read more at www.foodshare.net) FoodShare's Urban Agriculture department supports the urban agriculture movement in Toronto by demonstrating growing methods and by facilitating connections among people growing food in the city.
We are gradually re-establishing our gardens and on site urban agriculture production, after moving from our previous location. The food grown on site is eaten by the gardeners who come and work in the garden. Some of it is also supplied to our Good Food Markets program or cooked by the FoodShare kitchens.
Rather than dividing our gardens into plots, the space is shared. We have set garden workdays, when all the gardeners come and garden together. When we are harvesting, we put all the harvest in one place and at the end of the day, the produce is split up through discussion as a full group. Garden workdays are facilitated by the garden coordinator. We have a garden email and phone list that the coordinator uses to send out notes about workday changes and upcoming events and workshops. Bringing together a large group of gardeners every week allows people to teach each other, get a lot of work done in a short period of time, and to celebrate together--every week after the garden workday we finish the day with a potluck and then split up the day's harvest.
The garden membership base is flexible. We welcome anyone who is walking by who wants to help, even if they can only work that one day. If you work in the garden on a given day, you get to bring food home that day. This flexibility also means that if someone needs to go away for part of the season, that is alright. This system works for us in part because we plant the garden so that we have a steady stream of food to harvest throughout the season, rather than having it all come at the end of summer. And also it works because people are willing to help even if they do not get to bring home large amounts of food. They also come to the garden to laugh, meet new people, work hard, be outdoors, and learn new skills.
Our first garden was built last year using the lasagnaapproach to gardening. Lasagna gardening is a way to turn a lawn or even a parking lot into a field of food. Rather than digging down to prepare the soil, you build the soil up.
We also use an approach to gardening called "bio-intensive". The idea is to build the soil by adding lots of compost, so that you are then able to grow huge amounts of food in small spaces. Companion planting is also utilized with this approach to increase yields. Companion planting is a technique of growing plants close to one another because they have a mutually supportive relationship. This season we are double digging the garden. This is another important technique used in the bio-intensive approach, whereby you loosen the soil deep in the ground, while still maintaining the structure of the soil. Bio-intensive gardening is a very labour intensive approach but it pays off incredibly.
We will be starting new gardens on site this year in order to demonstrate more growing practices. We will also be building a greenhouse, a rooftop garden, and rooftop beehives.
Please contact Ian Aley by calling (416)363-6441 x241 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information.
If you know of a community garden that you think should be featured, or if you would like your community garden featured, please contact email@example.com with the name of the community garden, and the reason that you think it should be featured.