What do you do if you want to grow food, but have nowhere to grow it? You can join a community garden!
In 2019, there were over 35 community gardens and food forests around Greater Sudbury. Some are shared gardens, while others offer plots for rent. Some are for residents only and many others are operating at schools or churches. Some give people the chance to grow their own food, while others donate the food they grow to the food bank or community.
“Each garden is operated by a team of volunteers who are responsible for everything from raising the operating funds to fall clean up! Garden volunteer meet regularly as a network, and our vision for the future is to work collaboratively to build volunteer competency and skills to ensure that the gardens continue to thrive,” says Carrie Regenstrief. The Sudbury Community Garden Network envisions community gardens in every Ward and community. You can find the one closest to you on this map.
Community gardens contribute to healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy environment.
“Community gardens enhance food security by increasing the amount of locally-grown food available to people in the community, but also by providing opportunities for people to learn gardening and food literacy skills from each other and at times through formal programs, such as workshops and school-based activities. Community gardens can contribute to a net-zero future, by increasing the amount of local food consumed and therefore decreasing the amount of food that is produced on industrial-sized farms that require high emission inputs and where the products are transported long distances. Food grown in community gardens is most often focused on building healthy soil through composting and other natural means rather than with extensive chemical inputs. Healthy soil is able to store carbon and slow climate change,” Carrie explains.
Participating in a community garden, school kids and families learn where their food comes from, connect to nature, and get a love of fresh vegetables! In constructing and maintaining a garden, residents build confidence, competence and expertise in growing food and carrying out projects together.
This spring, Sudbury Shared Harvest and the Sudbury Community Garden Network also encourage you to “cultivate your neighbourhood” by growing food any way you can - in your yard, balcony or even a window box. Find resources on their website and youtube, and watch for ‘Grow Your Own’ webinars in partnership with the library.
If you are already an experienced gardener, you are encouraged to grow a little extra to donate seedlings to others, or to ‘grow-a-row’ to donate produce to the food bank. Free seeds are available: call Season’s Pharmacy and Culinaria at 705-222-2200 to arrange pick-up at their location on Lorne, or at a Little Free Library near you.