COMMUNITY GARDEN: Reaping what they’ve sown

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Pictured (in front L-R) are Devyn Cameron and Daniel Cyr. In back (L-R) are Shannon Ouderkirk, volunteer; Jenna  Seguin, volunteer, summer student SVCHC; Diana Freeman, owner Wild Rose Organic Farm, lead volunteer; and Corrie D’Alessio, Community Health Worker, SVCHC.

CORNWALL, Ontario - Residents of Hamilton Crescent celebrated another successful harvest, from their community garden, recently, thanks to their hard work and that of volunteers and partners.

“This is a true community initiative that would have not been possible without many people stepping forward,” said Corrie D’Alessio, community health worker with the Seaway Valley Community Health Centre (SVCHC), which spearheaded the project three years ago.

Among those, Diana Freeman, owner of Wild Rose Organic Farm, lead volunteer, has helped families learn gardening skills and techniques, and developed many of the learning activies, said D’Alessio.

This summer Freeman was supported by SVCHC summer student, Jenna Seguin and volunteers Mary Fairbairn, Shannon Ouderkirk, Susan Miller and Rob Dionne, who have helped construct the gardens, distribute plants and run activities for the kids.

D’Alessio also wanted to give credit to other community partners who have also been instrumental in helping  SVCHC coordinate the project,  including Cornwall Community Housing Corporation, management and staff, and Transition Cornwall +. Funding has been provided by Rachel’s Kids, United Way – Success by Six and the Social Development Council.

“All have made this initiative possible,” he said.

The residents in the communities have now taken ownership of the project and are taking it one step further. Coming up, later in the season, they will be hosting a joint yard sale to raise funds for a water tap. Details will be announced as they become available.

The objective of the Community Garden Project is to increase access to healthy food by providing garden resources, plants, and education to children and families.

There are presently two community garden locations, at Hamilton Crescent and Lemay Street housing complexes. Families pick plants and seeds, and are offered help in planting growing and harvesting the produce, said D’Alessio.

The long term goal, he said, is to continue to make connections and increase partnerships to ensure sustainability and possibly expand to other social housing complexes.

Organizations: Seaway Valley Community Health Centre, Cornwall Community Housing, United Way Social Development Council

Geographic location: Ontario, Lemay Street

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