Humber is not only going green but is taking its’ sustainability practices to the next level through community engagement and helping to address issues of food insecurity.
The Green Artisan Retailers & Designers Environmental Networking Space (GARDENS) Pod Project started in March 2016 with 10 pod sites dispersed throughout the Etobicoke area. Since then the project has produced more than 200 kg of fruits and vegetables annually. Initiated by the Office of Principal at Lakeshore Campus and LAMP Community Health Centre (CHC), the project aims to establish relationships and increase community engagement while addressing environmental concerns and food security issues in South Etobicoke. A portion of the harvest is donated to the Daily Bread Food Bank and other programs related to food and community engagement.
LAMP CHC is a proud educational partner of the GARDENS pod project and is also helping promote food security and sustainability by encouraging food production.
“The project contributes to improving health and wellbeing in multiple ways such as increasing community residents’ contact with greenery, promoting locally produced food, addressing food security, advancing knowledge of food and urban agriculture, and building social connections and community, “says Sandra Van, GARDENS Co-chair and Health promoter at LAMP CHC.
The GARDENS Pod Project hosts interactive-education sessions and excursions that are geared towards beginner gardeners, families, children and more. Ten workshops and three excursions will be included in The GARDENS Pod Project 2019. “Community interest in gardening and food production has flourished. The project provides an innovative and accessible model for residents to get involved, to learn and be part of the green movement,’ says Van.
The project is also creating employment opportunities. In 2018, three seasonal employees were hired with the support of Canada Summer Jobs and Humber College.
Lucy McCulloch, Operations Coordinator and Promi Nahar, Educational Coordinator, are employed as interns for the summer and are contributing their knowledge to educate the community about the project and are also responsible for its maintenance. “I have learned a lot of different things, including the element of building relationships with the community,” says McCulloch.
Many of the GARDENS Pod sites are equipped with solar powered self-watering systems and uses only organic practices, no chemical fertilizers and pesticides.