Submitted by Allegra Newman and the Goldenrod Community Garden team
The Goldenrod Community Garden Project has recently received approval to build a garden on a parcel of National Capital Commission (NCC) land located west of Parkdale, just north of the Tunney’s Pasture Complex. This is an exciting and long-anticipated win for the Hintonburg/Mechanicsville/Wellington West neighbourhood, where volunteers have been searching for land on which to build a community garden for over a decade. With support from the NCC, and in partnerships with the Parkdale Food Centre and the Somerset West Community Health Centre, the project hopes to build a vibrant community garden that will bring together diverse residents of all gardening skill levels. Community support for this project has been incredible, as has support from local politicians, including Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna and city Coun. Jeff Leiper.
Goldenrod’s vision is to create a large community run garden in Kitchissippi that will provide garden plots for residents and local community groups to grow food. The garden will contribute to building a healthier local community by creating more usable green space, increasing access to healthy food and offering opportunities for community building through shared interests and activities. The garden also hopes to address increasing issues of food insecurity in the surrounding neighbourhoods by offering reduced rate plots to gardeners in need.
Goldenrod has accessed funding from the Ottawa Community Garden Network (a City of Ottawa agent operated by Just Food) to purchase materials to build the garden infrastructure; building is anticipated to begin in April 2021 as soon as the snow melts. The garden is actively looking for other local funding opportunities and sponsorship from local businesses, to raise the final $5,000 to make this year’s garden a great success.
The Goldenrod construction plan, developed over the last year by a tireless group of volunteers, will construct up to 81 garden plots measuring 4 by 8 feet (32 sq. ft.) in 2021, with the intention of increasing that number over the next two years. The beds will be made of wood, lined with landscape fabric, and filled with good soil. Some of the beds will be designed for wheelchair accessibility. Volunteers working in household groups will help assemble the beds on-site in April.
COVID-19 guidelines, developed by the Ottawa Community Garden Network in spring of 2020, will be in place for construction and gardening at the Goldenrod Garden. It is expected that each participant in the garden build (separate from becoming a garden member) will need to sign an agreement regarding COVID-19 guidelines and safety protocols to be followed during garden build activities. Once the garden is operational, there will be a similar agreement required for garden members.
The Goldenrod Community Garden is looking for people to join their fundraising and communications committees. Please see more information at: kitchissippi.wixsite.com/goldenrodgarden and email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
Garden plots have not yet been assigned, but volunteer hours are a requirement to be placed on a garden plot allocation list. Being on this list does not guarantee a plot, as the number of available plots for the 2021 season has yet to be determined.