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Community Produce Gardens
The community garden initiative started in 2012 with a single plot in the Lyon’s Lane municipal garden. The aim was to grow fresh vegetables for the weekly Food For Life outreach program in which the St. Jude’s community already participated. It soon became clear that it was not possible to produce enough vegetables to make a significant contribution to the weekly food distribution program. Our first plot location was in a remote corner with tall trees on two sides – pleasant shade for sweating gardeners, but a real handicap for plant growth! The team decided to take produce as it was harvested to Kerr Street Mission; they were pleased to take any amount we could provide, given the need for healthy fresh produce!
In 2013, the Town of Oakville gave us the use of a new plot in full sunlight, which became really productive, and then they gave us a second plot, too. Three volunteers were working the two plots together, one morning a week. In spite of a long waiting list at the Town, we were given the use of a third plot for 2020.
The harvest fluctuates from year to year due to weather, wildlife and crop selection. We are not heavy users of soil and plant additives, although we do fertilize with discarded organic material from the mushroom farms and some sheep manure. We do listen and compare notes with other gardeners. 2020 was a good year as we have harvested from our three plots 556 lbs. of vegetables with lettuces, tomatoes, cabbages, and potatoes being the main crops, supplemented with chard, turnips and eggplant. However, with generous contributions from other gardeners, we delivered 819 lbs. of assorted vegetables to the Kerr Street Mission.
Finally, there is a pleasant social side, with both the volunteers, and with the other gardeners. New volunteers are always appreciated — and no previous gardening experience is required! If you have an interest in gardening, or like to see things growing, and can use a bit of exercise, please email loading... .