Here are a few projects happening in the community right now!
Edible Allen Gardens: Edible Allen Gardens will work with neighbouring groups and organizations to grow in nine container planters that face the entrance to the Allan Gardens Conservatory. Building Roots and TorGEN will be organizing community programming throughout the growing season to support gardeners and celebrate local, healthy food!
The TorGEN Community Garden Challenge: This summer we are launching the Community Garden Challenge! We will encourage community gardens from across Toronto Centre to join in a friendly competition to see which garden can grow the most amount of produce for local food banks. We know community gardens produce lots of fresh foods for their communities and we want to encourage any excess to donated to food banks in the region.
TorGEN Green Balconies: With so many Torontonians living in condo towers, there is a wonderful opportunity to increase our green capital through balcony gardening. Fruits and vegetables, shrubs, grasses and even trees can be gown on balconies across Toronto Centre. We want to encourage balcony gardening to increase green space, sequester carbon and help reduce our footprint!
Water Docs @ School Action Projects is a 6-month learning and action program for grade 8 students in Ontario. Teachers appreciate how easily it integrates into their classes. The first weeks focus on study with emphasis on learning about their local watershed and its issues; then they switch to action mode with a class action project (one on the detrimental effects of road salt, for example). They film their work and learnings, and submit the documentary for judging; the ever popular Water Brothers lend their advice. All the classes get together for a Student Recognition Day with prizes for the best film and the best project. We had 15 classes in the first 2 years’ pilot and 5 more that didn’t edit their film. This year WDSCP jumped up to 58 classes, mostly in the GTHA. as well as London, Nipissing, Long Lac, etc.
School Grown: FoodShare’s School Grown, a schoolyard farming project, grows vegetables and fruits on school rooftops and lawns to create student employment. With urban farming, Field to Table Schools is closing the loop on food literacy from how young people eat, grow and learn.
Getting students involved in seeding, weeding, harvesting and running their own markets is vital for nurturing deep bonds between youth and food. Reading a textbook is fine, but little compares to getting dirt on your hands and the first harvest of the season.
Moss Park Market: With the help of funds raised by Whole Foods’ Community Support Day, Building Roots has focused its attention on Moss Park and Toronto’s Downtown East. What resulted from a
concern about the lack of fresh, affordable and accessible food in this area.
In response to this great food need, Building Roots is working with residents and partners to
establish a permanent, diverse fresh food market using two fully outfitted shipping
containers. It will operate 12 months a year, three days a week so residents can access fresh
produce. It will be located off Queen close to Sherbourne on TCHC property.
This is a lasting project, sustainable with a vendor who has already committed to being at
the market three days a week, year round selling over 100 different kinds of local,
diverse and affordable produce. Once the containers are established on the property no
additional funding will be required. Building Roots has calculated early social returns that
cover the initial investment in under a year.