Community Gardens

At times, Opportunities Waterloo Region contributes to community work by acting as an administrative lead to collaborative funding proposals that relate to its mission and vision. Community Gardens provide an affordable way to get fresh produce to the table of individuals and families who live on low incomes.

In 2008, recognizing the many benefits of community gardens to neighbourhoods, families, and individuals, the Diggable Communities Collaborative (Diggables) – Region of Waterloo Public Health, Opportunities Waterloo Region, and the Community Garden Council of Waterloo Region was formed. The Diggables was granted 18 months of funding by The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) with additional support from Together 4 Health.

STRENGTHENING THE ROOT SYSTEM

The key objective of the Diggables was to strengthen the network of the 40 community gardens in the Region through policy advocacy, sponsorship and partnership development, as well as through aiding and supporting the Community Garden Council.

Opportunities role was that of administrative lead for the project, managing the staff and funds, along with completed reports and ensuring the project remained on track.

The OTF funded project wrapped up in winter, 2010. This first Diggables project was a great success with many positive outcomes, including new community gardens, many new partnerships and learning events, strengthening of the Community Garden Council and important inclusion in the Regional Official Plan with the hopes that the other municipalities will include actions in their plans.

REACHING OUT TO DIVERSE COMMUNITIES

The Diggables partnership continues. Opportunities was able to link CASSA with the Community Garden partners which lead to an additional staff hired for 3 months to explore how all cultures could be engaged in community gardens to help create a welcoming community for all. We supported these efforts by facilitating meetings, engaging interested people and developing a funding proposal in support of community partners. Two all-culture gardens were implemented this summer, with another one on the way in spring, 2012.

ACCESSIBLE GARDENS!

In 2011, the Diggables came together to support four community gardens in an effort to develop gardens that are accessible to individuals who have various physical challenges. Thanks to a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, this project will see the completion of these accessible gardens in 2012.

SPROUTING SEEDS WITH SENIORS