My name is Sofia, and I was a summer intern here at WIN. This position allowed me to engage with many of the projects taking place throughout the West Island region. One of these projects includes the establishment of several gardens that serve many needs within the community. Kevin Reynolds, summer staff and plant dude extraordinaire, has been overseeing these gardens throughout the season.
These gardens have been an important summer initiative and have been progressing phenomenally. The idea for this project came both from Christ Church Beaurepaire, seeing as they’d already had a working garden for quite a while before, and from Jim Beis, the mayor of Pierrefonds. In a collaborative meeting last spring, Mayor Beis proposed that the churches start gardens of their own and give the produce to food banks. This was in response to the food security crisis being a significant issue, which is still true to this day. Having already had one foot in the urban agriculture world for quite some time, West Island Network decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
We decided to support two already existing gardens, one at Christ Church Beaurepaire (shout out to Judith and Ingrid!) and the other at La Corde (yay Asmick!). Kevin offered his aid in the form of weekly maintenance, as well as extra planting and harvesting. Then, we added an all-new garden at Terra Nova, which Kevin designed, planned, implemented and continues to care for.
The Christian Direction communications team, myself included, recently had the opportunity to visit these three locations and were amazed by what we saw. The variety of produce and flowers was impressive, allowing us to appreciate just how much effort has gone into each step of the development. The results are clear evidence that this hard work is bearing fruit (pun intended)! Throughout the day, we tried our hands at pruning, harvesting, watering, and switching out the soil.
Recipients of the produce include the Innovation Assistance solidarity market and the La Corde kitchens, as well as the On Rock food bank. Depending on the individual needs of recipient organizations, we either harvest and distribute the produce right away or transform it into other things, such as pasta sauce or pickled veggies.
In the future, we hope to cement a partnership with Corbeille du Pain, and have immediate food distribution for the produce implemented at their ‘pay what you can’ version of a market. We also hope to have a couple more garden sites as of next year.
There are plenty of things you, (yes you!) can do to help us out in our endeavor to combat food insecurity in the west island.
First of all, we’d love it if you could pray for us, the success of our gardens and quality of produce. You could also pray for the organizations receiving the harvest: La Corde, On Rock Community Services, and Corbeille de Pain.
We are looking for new sites to establish some extra gardens next year, so it would be much appreciated if you could go to your local church and ask if they’d be willing to work with us. If so, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Last but certainly not least, we ask that you consider donating to WIN. We would greatly appreciate your contributions as they help us carry out our mission to engage West Island Churches for the good of their communities.