I am pleased to submit the final annual report from The Garden Party relating to the grant we received in 2022 for our giving garden project.
The generous grant we received from the Horticultural Societies of Parkdale & Toronto was critical to the success of our garden as it allowed us to purchase seeds, plants and much needed soil amendments. The financial report was previously submitted to your treasurer and we promptly received our reimbursement of expenses, which was much appreciated.
April 9, 2022, our first day in the garden. Getting the beds ready for planting. Lettuce and radish seeded.
As you know, The Garden Party is a giving garden. Over the past 16 years, The Garden Party has been growing and donating herbs and vegetables primarily to the Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre (PARC) and St. Francis Table, both located on Queen Street West in the Parkdale neighbourhood. This year, we knew the need for fresh food was great and we expanded our donations to include the Parkdale food bank, the Westminster Chapel Food Bank on Roncesvalles, the food bank at the Four Villages Community Health Centre (Dundas Street location), the Loaves and Fishes food bank in the Bloor West Village, and the Winter Welcome Table at Joan of Arc Catholic Church.
This year, we were able to donate 230.6 Kg (508.5 lb.) of fresh produce and 187 herb bundles. Between May 5, our first delivery, and November 5, one of our last, we had 43 harvests. Our bean crop was especially prolific this year.
Bountiful Bok Choy harvest ready for delivery to PARC.
We were able to have more volunteers participate at the same time this year and went back to our usual Saturday morning gardening sessions. We attracted several new volunteers later in the season and hope that they will return next year.
The two churches that provide the land for our gardens, Redeemer Lutheran and St. Joan of Arc, held a blessing of the garden in mid-September that was attended by volunteer gardeners and members of the two churches. It was followed by a potluck lunch and corn roast at Redeemer Lutheran.
One of our volunteers is a member of the Hort. Christine Hughes volunteered more than 75 hours from May to the end of October.
One of the things we have been trying to do over the last few years through involvement with the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project and Project Swallowtail is to incorporate native pollinator plants into the garden and on a hillside at the back of the church property. Redeemer Lutheran Church received several grants that allowed them to establish a small pollinator garden at the front of the church this year, which was in part to attract more pollinators to the vegetable garden.
We received a donation of two sets of vegetable seedlings from the Stop Community Food Centre which were grown in their greenhouse. Several of our volunteers participated in a research study the Stop was doing which was funded by the Samuel Family Foundation to look at whether community gardens promote social connections.
The Garden Party would like to thank the Horticultural Societies of Parkdale & Toronto for your continued support and selecting us as one of the recipients of your Community Garden Projects for 2022. We were pleased to have a somewhat normal garden season again and we know that the produce we were able to donate this year was especially welcome by the recipients in Parkdale and west Toronto.
Fall, cleaning up the garden.