The United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes (UWCKL) has announced that Edwin Binney’s Community Garden in Lindsay has already harvested more than 1,000 pounds of food for local organizations and food programs.
The community garden comprises 30,000 square feet of Crayola Canada’s previously unused land that UWCKL and Fleming College staff developed into a fully operational community garden in 2019.
The garden produced 5,500 pounds of food last year and, with the help of the department of sustainable agriculture at Fleming College’s Frost Campus, is projecting a 40 per cent increase in yield this growing season.
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unique challenges for the community agriculture project. First, there was the uncertainty early in the growing season as to whether community gardens would be allowed to operate at all. In April, the Ontario government amended its emergency orders to identify the gardens as an essential service for people who face food insecurity.
Now, the community garden’s team has had to find new ways to reach people who may be isolated due to COVID-19.
“With the support of the City of Kawartha Lakes social services department, we have been able to reach out to our neighbours at two social housing locations with our Fresh Produce Friday pilot project,” explains UCWL projects and communications coordinator Mallory Cramp-Waldinsperger. “This program provides a free market table of locally grown produce to seniors and members of our community who may be vulnerable to isolation.”
The community garden has also collaborated with Community Care City of Kawartha Lakes to deliver a free monthly produce bag to 90 of that organization’s clients.
“Agency partnerships are critical to help people immediately in tough and unusual times,” says UWCKL executive director Penny Barton Dyke.
“Edwin Binney’s Community Garden has many partners with each contributing and dovetailing to bring knowledge, land, access to products, and the opportunity to bring fresh produce to kitchen tables,” she adds. “This is an agricultural and education project that is building sustainable practices and partnerships,”