A brief history and current projects with the City of Kawartha Lakes community gardens

Dec./07 Toward Balance Support Network, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit and Fleming College met to discuss the feasibility of community gardens in the city.

Jan./08 Public meeting to determine the interest in allotment gardens. This meeting added Community Care, Early Years, Gamiing Centre for Sustainable Lakeshore Living and a number of interested individuals.

Feb./08 Committees were struck including: education and outreach, fundraising, communications. The whole group decided to serve as the steering committee. The education committee was asked to bring a rules and regulations proposal to the steering committee for approval.

March/08 Our newsletter editor and web master joined the group. She immediately took over the newsletter and began building the web site. The Canadian Mental Health Association joined the group. A grant was obtained to contract a garden manager until the first of July. This would get the site up and running and begin outreach.

April/08 Our first meeting at the garden site We walked the area and talked about the future of the college site in the garden community. Earth Day provided a platform to highlight the new garden project.

Photo by: Wayne Medford

May/08 The first allotment gardens were planted. Preparations began for the June grand opening. Lilac Gardens invited us to speak at their lilac festival. A second community garden site was established at Fenelon Falls, linking Fenelon Falls Secondary School with Fenelon Court, the seniors’ residence. This site has a wonderful premise. The horticultural class at the school brings its greenhouse plants to help start the residence gardens in the spring. Then the seniors with the volunteer help of some of the students tend the gardens during the summer. Then, in the fall, the students return to help to harvest and close the gardens.

Photo by: Wayne Medford

June/08 The brochures were completed and printed. The web site was established as www.communitygarden.ca. We held the grand opening at Fleming College attended by college president Dr. Tony Tilly, Frost campus principal, Blaine Harvey, City of Kawartha Lakes mayor, Ric McGee and a number of representatives of local horticultural and agricultural organizations. By this time we had a mailing list for our newsletter of 60 people and organizations.

We also have two new sites requesting our support in getting started.

The gardens at Frost campus are only metres away from the Trans-Canada Trail. As such they could become the first highlight of a visit to City of Kawartha Lakes via the trail.

Summer/08 The gardens were asked to provide a keynote speaker for the city’s Communities in Bloom Showcase. As a result of the city’s overall presentation, C.of K.L. was awarded the title of Community of Gardeners for having the best community network of volunteers in Ontario.

Toward Balance submitted an article, Gardens Run Through It, to Canadian Organic Grower magazine. The article appeared in the winter 2009 edition.

Fall/08 We held our first Artists in the Garden festival at the Fleming garden site thanks to a partnership with the city and local artists.

We became members of Health for Life, a provincial organization. This partnership helped us to have a welcoming sign posted at the front entrance to the Fleming garden.

We entered negotiations with Fleming College to have an acre of land dedicated to a heritage apple orchard that would abut both the garden and the Trans Canada Trail.