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Archive for the ‘links’ Category

Honey Pot Herbals - New Cross-Promotion with GTGK

Check out this amazing online small business making beautiful personal care products with fine imported and native ingredients. We love Joanne’s soaps and lotions: we tried the Patchouli-Orange Soap and the Sweetgrass Lotion – can’t get enough! Next year, we’ll grow some herbs for Joanne (she got a chuckle out of getting urban surplus to her country home). And if you use the coupon code GTGK1234 when you buy online, we get 5% of the sale! Thanks to Registered Herbalist Joanne Kewageshig for including us in her business! Read more on our website here.

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It’s an exciting time for school gardens – please join us physically and metaphysically in our celebrations of a new season of growth and beauty! First up, today is May 24 — The First Annual School Garden Day, brought to life by our collaboration with EcoSource and the Ontario Edible Education Network. There’s a survey to fill out to help us all better understand school food gardens and gardeners, (as well as other children & youth food programs).

Next week on Wednesday May 29 is the Fairmount Park Farmers’ Market, adjacent to a school yard where a gardening project is underway. We’ll be selling some pea shoots and talking about how easy to do and nutritious they are, as well as just providing a fun activity for kids. Erin Temple, our newly minted practicum student from Ryerson University’s Masters of Health Science, Nutrition Communications will help make this event memorable.

Coming up Saturday June 1 is Rawlinson Community School’s Urban Farm Fun Fair, and we’re excited to have a table there. We’ve been working with Rawlinson’s amazing kindergarten teachers on our kinder-GARDEN pilot project, and this year the whole school has planned their Fun Fair to celebrate urban agriculture and highlight their school gardens!

On Wednesday June 19, we’ll get together with our eight Kinder-GARDEN pilot project teachers to go over the project and look at the spring season to date. This will form the beginning of a new resource guide, suited to Toronto climate and Ontario curriculum, for school food gardeners working with Kindergarteners. This project is supported by a grant from the Community Environment Fund of Earth Day Canada.

Then, Friday June 21, we’ll be offering a workshop at the Jane-Finch area Frontier College Connecting Communities Conference, where program leaders attend a free day of workshops and networking, gaining a better understanding of summer programs that meet the needs of children and youth. We’re excited to participate in the desire to support literacy – including environmental and food literacy – and detailing how the school garden can be a strong summertime asset to the community.

Meantime, the Urban Roots Youth project is deepening, and the youth involved are gaining confidence and knowledge about food growing, food systems and starting to tell their own stories. Two more summer jobs (in addition to two jobs through TDSB’s Focus on Youth) will be available and will be posted soon on our website. Funding for this program’s co-ordination has been generously provided by Telus Community Board and by the City of Toronto Recreation Grants.

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An Illustrated Guide to Growing Food on Your Balcony

Our favourite Lara has made this fabulous Illustrated Guide to Growing Food On Your Balcony. A super resource for those of us that do not have backyard gardens.  Especially valuable when you think about most of the gardening books out there.

Lara has had 8 years of growing experience on balconies, particularly in the neighbourhood of St. James Town, which is renown for its high-rises!

Only a few hundred copies have been printed so far. But with your help, Lara(and her supporters and balcony growing advocates) hopes to be able to print more copies of this timely resource for the upcoming spring season to disperse to other educators, community gardeners and those that are interested in growing food on their balcony! I am lucky to have my own copy and look forward to additional information she will be including on soil and how to grow food without a garden!

Overdue: posts about the CASSA conference, Growing A Greener Future from Field to Table conference, Seedy Sunday and updates about our programs!

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seed saving in the winter

Seed saving at Winchester P.S. during garden club

Greetings y’all!

Ah yes, the first notable snowfall in Toronto befall the city last week (and more was dumped yesterday!). Thankfully, we have put hoop houses on many of our garden beds at all of the schools, to extend the life of some of the greens.

One might think that garden programming ends when it gets cold outside, but not true at all! In fact, not only are children able to extend the growing season with aforementioned hoop houses, made out of hula hoops, recycled telephone wire, thick clear plastic and office clips, but also seed more leafy greens, collect seeds for next spring, and continue composting.

Winter composting at school food garden

The neat thing about composting in the winter, is that if it stays active (i.e. hot!) with food waste from the school cafeteria, it releases a lot of steam which always amazes the children and keeps our worm friends warm and toasty in their squirms — that is what we call a cluster of worms that form a ball. And better yet, we will have beautiful fresh compost ready in early spring!

hoop houses on earthblock beds

Rose Ave. P.S. earth blocks

Petit Allan Gardens

École Gabrielle-Roy

On another note what makes the three new earth block beds (from our favourite sustainable builder andl farmer friend Henry from Fifth Wind) at Rose Avenue P.S.  especially delightful, apart from the fact that they will be able to support more sun-loving plants next year, is that they have taken over the space where there used to be a parking lot. Food plants 1, Automobiles 0.

As such, the gardens  remain a wonder in the winter. Children love peeking underneath the hoop houses to see if the seedlings have grown since the last time they checked and they love to crawl & hide behind bushes, and look around and see what life might still thrive under these cold conditions amongst the trees, shrubs, rocks and frozen plants. And we are also grateful for the volunteers who’ve been able to come out to help in outdoor programs!

Oh! I almost forgot to post the link to a video that Mehrdad, one of our 2010 OISE teacher candidates, made over the spring and summer. This video of School Food Gardens in East downtown Toronto shows how school food gardens addresses various food security issues. Please go to our YouTube link here. And maybe the video will warm you up a bit, putting you in that spring time/summer frame of mind. Although it is a beautiful winter day if you ask me!

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Numerous people were displaced by the fire at 200 Wellesley last Friday, many of whom go to the schools we work at.

In response, the St. James Town Youth Network have started a blog, as a resource for youth who were affected and for people who want to help out. Check it out!


Furthermore u4Change, the St. James Town youth project,  is putting on a 200 Wellesley St. Fire Relief Fundraiser on Friday October 8, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the u4Change office at 517 Parliament St., 2nd floor.  There will be artistic performances and baked goods available for sale too.

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Sarah Dobec, holistic nutritionist and also founder of Field Trip, is doing the Cancer Prevention Challenge, and has chosen us to donate to via fund sharing. Each participant gets to decide what prevention initiative 80% of their fund raising goes to.  15%  goes to the Women’s Healthy Environments Network and the rest covers the cost of administration. We are delighted, pleased and more than honoured to have been chosen!

You can support her support us, support cancer prevention(what a mouthful!) here. You can also read more about her personal pledge on her blog.

Later this season Green Thumbs Growing Kids will be one of the featured site visits for Field Trip. More on that later too!

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Environmental & Food Justice: Genetically-engineering our way out of the climate crisis?

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