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Seeds for Hunger

Seeds for Hunger

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Categories: Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

Learning centre plants crops for local food bank

Breaking new ground, Overland Learning Centre joined up with a local food bank to fight hunger through community gardening.

Learners and staff from Overland and Community Share Food Bank transformed a strip of land between their buildings into garden beds for edible crops.

“We want to establish a community garden to grow fruit and vegetables to donate to Community Share Food Bank,” says Overland Manager Grant Reimer. “Since many of our learners access the food bank regularly, this partnership is especially meaningful.”

As an adult learning centre, Overland serves many in the community through its English as a Second Language courses, seniors programs and general interest classes. The partnership with Community Share Food Bank, and the opportunities the garden supplies to sow and harvest food, enhances Overland’s cultural curriculum.

“Involving our learners in the garden is an important part of the process,” Reimer says. “Overland has many New Canadian adult students who come to learn English and to understand Canadian culture.  Gardening and environmental issues are an integral part of our programs. Our general interest and seniors classes draw in adults from the neighbourhood. Together, we believe we can make a valuable contribution.”

Trustee Gerri Gershon was an early supporter of the project, arranging the initial meeting between Overland and Community Share Food Bank.

“This initiative is a wonderful partnership between the community and Overland Learning Centre,” says Gershon. “Kudos to all involved!”

The project has had an auspicious start, receiving a start-up grant from TD Friends of the Environment. Also, scientists from the University of Guelph found the garden’s soil is rich and fertile. The learning centre’s grounds were originally a horse pasture.

As plans for the Overland Environmental Learning Garden grow, so do the number of supporters which now include City Councillor Jaye Robinson, World Crop, the Toronto Botanical Gardens and landscape architect Arifa Shompa Hai.

What comes next?

“Our long term plans include an outdoor classroom, a naturalized forest and a shady gazebo where our learners and neighbours from the community can meet and admire the garden,” says Reimer.

An official opening for the Overland Environmental Learning Garden is planned for the end of May. For details call 416-395-5080.
 
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