Home Blog July 2015 What's so special about community gardens? Plenty!

What's so special about community gardens? Plenty!

What's so special about community gardens? Plenty!
At Food Banks Canada, we are delighted to introduce the Community Gardens Fund granting program, thanks to the support of founding donor Compass Group Canada. The fund is part of Compass Group’s Nourish program, which aims to improve the self-sufficiency of Canadians living with food insecurity. Nourish supports the creation of community gardens and education resources and captures the desired focus on community partnership in providing sustainable, healthy, food solutions to those in need
Why focus on community gardens?
The most obvious benefit is that they supply fresh local produce, which helps families enjoy nutritious food while saving money on groceries. For newcomers to Canada, gardening is also a way to grow familiar fruits and vegetables from home that are not readily available here.

But community gardening offers so much more than food: it teaches new skills, develops independence and confidence, and offers social support.

The garden in action
The Unemployed Help Centre of Windsor in Ontario is a great example of the power of a strong community garden program. In 2014 the garden doubled in size to 2.6 acres. The new site hosts more than 200 family garden plots – and more.

“Our new garden includes communal green space where children can play and picnic tables for families to enjoy lunch or a snack. We also have fruit trees, from which our gardeners can pick fresh fruit when it’s in season,” says June Muir, CEO of the Unemployed Help Centre.

This year, the organization received a grant of $2,000 from our Community Garden Fund to further improve the facility.

Increased accessibility
The grant will enable the Centre to increase accessibility by building three new cedar U-shaped raised beds. This will allow clients with physical limitations to participate in gardening activities.

“The beautiful thing about a garden is that brings families together and breaks down social isolation. In our gardens, you’ll see people of every generation and many different cultures. People come together to plant what they like to eat while learning great gardening skills,” says June. “Some of the participants recognize that they can learn new skills and take that next step and meet with one of our employment counsellors to secure a job.”

Thank you Compass Group Canada for funding the Community Gardens Granting program, awarded to the following food banks:

·         Glace Bay Food Bank Society
·         Greener Village - Fredericton Food Bank
·         Interfaith Food Bank Society
·         Kawartha Lakes Food Source
·         Pedvac Foundation
·         Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre
·         The Salvation Army Penticton Community Food Bank
·         The Sharing Place Food Bank
·         Unemployed Help Centre of Windsor

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of food distributed by Canadian food banks is fresh (eg. milk, eggs, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, bread)