This summer a number of groups have visited the Garden. Back in June, a group of volunteers from HSBC descended upon the garden and pitched in with weeding, bindweed removal and digging up new beds. The event was a part of a larger initiative between the Bank, Black Creek Pioneer Village and York University. Despite the rain (torrential downpour!), everyone maintained positive attitudes as we hiked along a nature trail from the Black Creek Parkland, across a river, past the Hoover House on York University’s campus and up to the Garden. The Associate Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies, Leesa Fawcett, was particularly helpful in teaching the students and participants about the natural history of the area. Following that, a group of employees from North York Harvest toured the Garden in July, as a part of a City-wide community garden tour. However, the fun doesn’t stop there!
On July 29TH, 2011, youth from a shelter called Eva’s Initiatives came to visit the Maloca Community Garden on York University’s Keel campus. At the organization’s main location, the residents tend to a garden that grows a range of vegetables and herbs, so the Director was enthusiastic about the opportunity to visit another urban agriculture site. Shortly after that, a Spanish-speaking group from the Jane/Finch community, El Centro Para Gente de Habla Hispana, visited with their summer camp students on August 2ND, 2011. The Centre supports a unique project that use the tomato as a catalyst for conversations about urban agriculture, Latin American culture, sustainability and global issues such as climate change and migrant labour. You can learn more about it HERE.
The Eva’s Initiatives group helped us plant beet seeds and construct a wire barrier around the freshly-planted bed – to ward off hungry groundhogs who have been collecting their fill of organic produce all summer long (they really loved our beans and cabbage.) The group also helped us ‘hill’ the potatoes, which is when you add more soil around the base of the plant to prevent any potatoes from being exposed to the sunlight (which can make them poisonous!) and to give them more room to grow. We also harvested beets, carrots and basil. The group even took home some chocolate mint to transplant into their garden. Overall, it was a great visit – despite a brief downpour. Luckily we had the canopy set up!
The children from the summer camp were mesmerized by the fresh carrots, beets and potatoes we unearthed from the garden. It is always enjoyable to see the Garden from other peoples’ perspectives, especially children! Particular points of interest along the tour were the squash patch, the Three Sisters plot, our compost station, the successional planting experiment in the lettuce bed and our barrel ‘o potatoes, which grows potatoes vertically rather than spread out horizontally in a patch. Again, it was another great visit and Will won the kids over by spraying them with the hose on the really hot day.
P.S. Special thanks to Ben who takes so many wonderful photos of the Maloca Community Garden and posts them on our Facebook page.