Goldenrod Community Garden flourishes in first year of operation

The Goldenrod Community Garden has had a successful first year. Photo courtesy of the Goldenrod Community Garden.

Submitted by Kita Szpak and the Goldenrod Community Garden team

What has been a 10-year vision in the making is now an 80-plot thriving community garden whose first year of operation was marked by a live and online annual general meeting on Oct. 6. 

The initial interim board—led by President Susan Harvey and members Allegra Newman, Ray Pierce, Bryn Lander, Carmel Boosamra, Diane Morin, and Al Webb—was instrumental in engaging the garden’s partners, including Just Food, the Parkdale Food Centre, the Somerset West Community Health Centre, and, of course, the National Capital Commission (NCC) which inked a three-year agreement for Goldenrod to build and operate the garden on its land. 

From opening up a bank account to establishing governance processes to setting up working committees (membership, fundraising, communications, engagement, and build — the garden is working toward a stage 2 build for spring 2022), the Goldenrod community is grateful to this interim group. Thanks to the interim board’s fine efforts, the incoming eight-person board (Sara Chen-Wing, Tanya Salewski, Susan McClelland, Catherine O’Toole, Matthew Doody, Martin Conley-Wood, Barbara Sharp, Carmela Grande) has a community garden anchored in emerging best practices and financial stability. 

Committee highlights of 2021

Here are a few of the many committee accomplishments.


Designed site layout and build of the garden, including design and implementation of water storage, design of shed and compost bins

Budgeted costs including Just Food funding, sourced and arranged delivery of materials, managed volunteers and helped maintain the property


Developed a database of potential gardeners

Established easy e-registration, fair plot allotment, and future garden vision processes 


Launched, managed evolution of the website, established social media channels, and facilitated the garden opening in June

Produced 13 newsletters and signage for the garden


Fundraised over $11,000 through donations from corporate supporters, local small business owners, a Toronto enterprise, and a generous $5,000 grant from Home Depot

Initiated and engaged key donors through communiques, a donors’ portal on the website, and produce gifting from the garden

Membership Engagement (newly struck in June)

Surveying (in process) to ascertain favoured event options for 2022

Created a garden close-out instruction guide

Coordinated the logistics for the first annual general meeting


Set up a process for online invoice payments and for collecting registration fees

Compiled a draft budget for the calendar year, based on input from the interim Board Members and previous records of expenditure

Prepared high-level summary reports for presentation at the board meetings  

With an incoming complement of the eight board members who will sit for the next 12 months, the mission of the Goldenrod Community Garden is in good hands to continue to increase food security by helping people to grow their own food, building community by providing resources for other local organizations like the Parkdale Food Centre and sharing knowledge about food gardening with others, including schools. 

If you would like more information about the Goldenrod Community Garden, about becoming a plot owner and/or volunteering, or becoming a Friend of the Garden, visit or email  

Goldenrod Community Garden acknowledges that its location is on the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation whose presence here reaches back to time immemorial.

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