1021 Birchmount Road is a Toronto Community Housing apartment building at Birchmount and Eglinton. Laura Hammond, a very active member of her community, a young mother and the co-chair of the Resident Council, had a dream for the backyard of her apartment building; a backyard that was rarely used, covered in grass with couple of benches and an old playground. Her dream was to see a community garden flourishing in that space; a garden that brought together the young and not-so-young in her building and where, as a community, they could grow their own organic food so she did not have to travel downtown to buy it.
Early on the morning of Monday August 25, 2014, with the help of 30 youth from the surrounding neighbourhood and from the YouthWorx program, Laura saw her dream realized thanks to funding support from TD Park Builders and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.
The youth and community rolled up their sleeves and installed seven galvanized steel raised beds. Galvanized steel was chosen for the beds as it is economical, safe for growing food, and allows for an early growing season due to heat retention of the steel. The raised beds are accessible for seniors and residents in wheelchairs. Vegetables and herbs were planted in the beds.
Laura is grateful that the garden is finally here. “Thanks to all the youth in the neighbourhood, the YouthWorx program, our funders and the entire community for pulling together and working so hard to make our community garden a reality. We are so excited to be achieving our goals of improving our local green-space with edible native trees/shrubs and vegetation for our community members to enjoy. Our garden will create learning opportunities for residents to become familiar with the ecological and nutritional benefits of having access to whole foods.” she said.