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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. We now have three plots to work.
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.
A few volunteers, for the past 7-8 years, have been renting and working our ‘Veggie Patch’ initiative at The Town Allotments on Lyons Lane – where everything we harvest, is donated to The Kerr Street Mission – to feed those less fortunate (cumulative total is over 4,000 lbs, to date).
We meet on Tuesday mornings (starting at the beginning of May) for about 2 ½ hours, to ‘work’ the plots; then harvest, bag & weigh; then the donations – everything – is taken to Kerr Street Mission. The benefits are enormous – great outdoor exercise, communing with nature, and satisfaction…. we are proud of the results of our efforts – digging, weeding, planting, harvesting and watering (hoses very close by).
New volunteers are greatly needed — and no previous gardening experience is required! If you are interested in volunteering, please email office -at- stjudeschurch -dot- net.