Community Development

Leaside Park Community Garden

The Leaside Park Community Garden was developed in partnership with the Thorncliffe Park Urban Farmers and Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office (TNO) in 2015. It is a food-growing, gardening, and learning space that engages, accommodates and feeds residents and community members – from individuals, to families/households, to school groups, to program participants.

The constitution of the garden is like a “community farm”, with rows of vegetables/herbs/fruits that are maintained by residents/ community members for the benefit of the community. The harvest is distributed among those who come to the space to grow, learn, and gather. The main objective of this project is to connect people to food security in a way that is meaningful and impactful.

About the space:

After beginning the site plan at the end of 2015 there are now eighteen 30-ft. rows, three 25-ft rows and a circular herb garden (3 rings) that were created by community members. This season, we have planted many types of vegetables in seventeen rows – approximately half of the 0.4-acre area. Sustainable growing practices are used, the most important being that absolutely no chemicals will ever be used. It is also a priority to maintain the ecological health of the area by creating bee and butterfly habitat by using native plant species.

How it works:

Anyone who gets involved in growing/maintenance of the space and/or visits the garden to learn will get to take home a portion of the harvest as it becomes available. By having communal/shared space, rather than plots/allotments, many more people can have access to fresh produce and can benefit from the space. There are plenty of opportunities for community planting, learning, and gathering this season. The harvest will also be shared with those who are unable to garden with us, especially those who experience food insecurity.

Things to do:

  • Learn about food-growing in an urban environment
  • Participate in group gardening and harvest with us
  • Gather and share gardening knowledge, feedback, recipes, and stories
  • Plant vegetable, herb, fruit and flower seedlings and seeds in the rows
  • Prepare the rows for planting/seeding by weeding, spreading compost, and polishing the pathways
  • Turn on/off the irrigation system that provides water for the plants
  • Lightly weed the rows, thin seedlings, and prune plants when needed (general crop maintenance)
  • “Put the garden to bed” for the winter
  • Participate in the planning for the 2017 season

What we are growing:

  • Tomatoes, peppers (hot and sweet), okra, onions, beans, eggplants, carrots, leafy greens, cucumbers and more!
  • Many of the plants were started from seed right here in Thorncliffe Park
  • Organic seeds/varieties are used whenever possible

How to get involved:

Group gardening takes place on Saturdays/Sundays – days and times vary. Please contact Esha at TNO 1 Leaside at 416-467-0126 or ekidwai@thorncliffe.org to register and get the latest schedule of activities.

Follow the progress in the garden here: https://www.facebook.com/ThorncliffeParkUrbanFarmers/?fref=ts

 

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