If you live in Kitchener-Waterloo and have traveled around the city even a little bit, chances are youhave passed by community garden. Community gardening is a growing phenomenon in North America as people assemble to create small islands of agriculture in urban settings. The benefits of
If you live in Kitchener-Waterloo and have traveled around the city even a little bit, chances are you have passed by community garden. Community gardening is a growing phenomenon in North America as people assemble to create small islands of agriculture in urban settings. The benefits of community gardening are manifold. For the individual, they offer exercise; fresh air; the freshest food available; grocery savings; a chance to connect with neighbours. For the community, the gardens help to bring people together; they beautify the area; help children learn where our food comes from and the skills involved in its production; and community gardens have even been shown to lower crime rates - making our neighbourhoods safer, healthier places to live. In the Waterloo Region, the Community Garden Network was formed in 1997 with help from the Region of Waterloo Public Health, the Food Bank of Waterloo Region and the Working Center. A Community Garden Council formed in 2005 to promote support Community Gardens in the region. The Council with its partnerships plus many, many local residents have helped the number of community gardens grow to over 35 in the region with several new gardens coming on board each year. The Council provides support through garden workshops and access to Master Gardeners – those much coveted experts of organic agriculture. The City of Kitchener provides support though start-up grants and access to land. There is almost certainly a community garden near you! Check out www.region.waterloo.on.ca/ph (click resources then community gardens) or call 519-883-2004 x 5336 for more details. Victoria Hills Multicultural Community Garden is the oldest community garden in Waterloo Region. Nestled in a patch of city land between Westmount and Fisher-Hallman, the garden offers space to local residents to flex their green (or brown!) thumb and grow their own vegetables, herbs and flowers. Each of the 24 plots is approximately 15 ft x 15 ft and the small rental fee also guarantees access to water and tools. This garden is one of the most multicultural gardens in the city and the provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the different vegetables and gardening practices used around the world. If you wish to sign on for a plot in the Victoria Hills Community Garden, plan to attend one of the information meetings at the Victoria Hills Community Centre scheduled for April 17 7-9 pm or May 15 7-9pm or call 519-745-7242. Willow Green Community Garden is a beautiful plot of land surrounded by a rustic wooden fence. Located next to Schneider Creek and the Iron Horse Trail, this garden is one of the newest community gardens in the city. With designated patches for vegetables, perennial herbs and flowers, this garden has a very attractive layout. All plots in the Willow Green Community Garden are currently booked, however, the group is still taking names of interested persons for their waiting list. Contact Ralph (519)-742-8273 for details. Eden's Gate Community Garden is one of the larger gardens in the region with 36 plots. The garden was founded by the Seventh Day Adventist Church in 2007 to provide growing space for residents of the surrounding neighbourhood, members of the church as well as to grow food for the St. John's Kitchen. The contact for this garden is Carmela at 519-573-1837. Forest Hill United Church Community Garden started as a small potato patch designed to grow food for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. Over the years, the garden has developed to include raised garden plots available to local residents. A limited number of plots are available for 2008. Contact Stephen of the Forest Hill United Church at 519-741-1296 for details. Happy gardening!