Live Green Toronto – Starting a Community Garden

Live Green Toronto – Starting a Community Garden

Hi, my name is Sarosh Anwar and I’m a Community
Food Animator for Toronto, and today, I’ll show you how to start a community garden in
your neighbourhood within the City of Toronto. A community garden is a plot of land that
a group of people garden together. Basically it provides access to land to people who do
not own a piece land of their own and what makes the community garden unique is the whole
process of establishing it and maintaining it is done through good community process.
You want to start off with one or two people and they are going to act as catalysts as
magnets to draw other people into the group. You will need a Garden Coordinator that will
be the person who has the most energy and dedication to oversee the project and also
to liaise with the City to gather support for it. And then you want to get together
a minimum of 5 to 7 people. Talk to the people in you neighbourhood, maybe even collect signatures
of support and you want to involve as many people in your community as you can. So that
means talking to the residents, you want to reach out to community organizations in your
area and of course the more people that are involved in the planning stages the easier
it is to have a garden that really reflects the membership Once you’ve got your core group
in place, you really should do your research to find an appropriate piece of land. Just
walk around the neighbourhood with your group members. You’ll be really surprised when
your walking around slowly and being attuned to the surroundings around you, you can really
find some very good sites. Then visit some other garden coordinators to get ideas for
you own group. The first thing you want to consider when your looking for a spot for
your garden is sunlight. If you’re going to grow food you need a minimum exposure of
6 hours each day. And also remember to take note of things like trees and buildings around
the site. Take note of the size you want your garden to be. Just as a general rule of thumb
you want to have enough space to be able to fit in around 10 plots that are 4 feet by
10 feet and of course you also want to allow for room for expansion if you can because
you might have more people around the community who want to join your garden once its actually
put in. When you’re checking the land look out for incline, if you have a very steep
incline you will have soil erosion. Look out for drainage issues, if you see sunken areas
or soggy areas or dark patches of land that’s probably indicative of poor drainage, which
is not good for a garden. Having a reliable source of water for your garden is really
important. You can always collect water in rainwater barrels but having a running stream
of water is going to be critical. Think about the accessibility of your garden as well.
It should have good access to vehicles that may be delivering soil, compost or fencing.
You also want to make sure that people of different abilities can have access to the
garden easily. Your garden should be in distance of your garden club members as well the target
community. The first step to securing a site is figuring out who owns that piece of land.
If you’re not sure, you can visit the Assessment Roll Office at Toronto City Hall. They have
computers there and you can do a search on them using the street number of the property
your interested in. Once you’ve selected a number of locations, you should contact
the Cities Community Gardens Program Coordinator, he’s going to investigate title history of
the property. After that the site plan is going to be reviewed by Parks and Recreation
Staff. Think about a plan for you site. Where is everything going to go? What’s the layout
going to look like? What kinds of structures might you need in your garden? Think about
the budget your going to need to make all of this come true. There is a lot that you
can get for free, a lot that you can get as in kind donations or at a discount. Making
the garden of your dreams is not impossible, but it might take a few years for you to attain
all your goals. Just like a garden grows stronger and more mature over the years, your going
to find the same thing is going to happen with your group. So remember to keep your
goals exciting but also doable, and most importantly remember to celebrate all of your achievements
together as a group.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

5 thoughts on “Live Green Toronto – Starting a Community Garden

  1. We are starting a community Garden here in Mt. Hope, WV.  Exciting to see this was a recommended video for me.  I think my computer is helping me out also…..

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