Veggie City 'in the hood'

Veggie City 'in the hood'
Veggie City crew members posing with Veggie Mastermind, Trevor Johnson in front of our newly painted banner! Thank you LIHC youth for creating such an awesome piece of art!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

A Week With Robyn Harvey

Last week we received a phone call. Robyn Harvey, community gardening expert and environmental advocate was tending his plots and invited us to join him. We raced over to see what Robyn was up to and to check out his fantastic gardens. When we arrived, Robyn was all smiles, touring around the garden, offering us herbs to nibble on and teaching us about leaf composting, planting and spacing in the garden. He let us plant some tomatoes and taught us the trick of adding bone meal to the compost while planting. Robyn was full of gardening stories and tips, as well as humor in the garden. His biggest advice to us was to always remain humble. Gardening is an art, but much of the work and success is not up to us! The day felt a little surreal. Robyn was commenting on the amazing gardening happening around the city, and hopes and dreams for the future. His dream involves young people participating in the urban food movement: Veggie City setting a great example of the possibilities in years to come. Did we also mention that Robyn has an uncanny knack with young people? Throughout our day with him, he showed patience, humour and spontaneity to two of our mini volunteers, and over the week that we spent with him planting our resident gardens, Robyn was able to draw out mini residents and include them in planting and watering the veggies. We not only learned to separate our basil and cilantro herbs before planting, but Robyn helped us to make sure that our plants had enough space to grow and that we had optimized our gardening space. Robyn will continue to mentor us, especially during harvesting times, offering up much needed support along the way. Thank you Robyn for getting your hands (and feet) dirty with the Veggie City crew!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Garden Creation Day with TLC Professional Landscaping

Saturday, June 11th, 8:30am: Volunteer residents from River Park Towers have been out for an hour, edging the soon-to-be garden. Hot apple fritters arrive from the Western Fair Market, with the Veggie City crew trailing close behind. We are finally at the stage where we are digging in the ground, creating the gardens that we have been wishing for since April. We look over to the parking lot and see the truck pulling in. It is huge! Out comes the TLC landscape crew, one-by-one. Then, another truck arrives with more men! Eight crew members and Tim, manager of the landscape crew are here to rescue. They bring all their heavy equipment, including two trailers and a mini-tractor. First they cut the sod and then the crew teaches the Veggie City staff and volunteers how to roll it up and wheel it into the trailers. Speed is of the essence. The rototillers then come out of hiding and two crew members push the heavy machinery in rows, trudging up the newly created garden. This process continues at each of the Veggie City resident gardens. The crew stops to take a  water break, enjoying some bagels and juice that residents like Teresa Wilson provide for all of the members on this hot summer day. Back to work they go, working up a sweat and sharing stories, tips and tricks with the Veggie City student employees. Crew members like Daryl, Jason and Ryan are particularly inspiring and funny and the students feel like part of the team, even riding in the trucks with the TLC crew. At the end of a very long 11 hour day, everyone is dirty and tired, but all smiles at the amazing work that has been accomplished on behalf of TLC for the Veggie City garden project. All of the resident gardens look fantastic! Next step: compost and then planting. A very warm and appreciative thank you to TLC and the crew for volunteering to make this project a success! We couldn't have done it without you!