Community garden takes root

Dirt plots on the front lawn of a modern church building.
Volunteers work on St. Luke’s Community Gardens in Peterborough.
 on November 1, 2019

This summer and fall saw the first harvest of vegetables from St. Luke’s Community Gardens in Peterborough. The crop included tomatoes, cabbages, peppers, potatoes, carrots, zucchini and squash.

The gardens are a collaboration, begun in 2017, between Peterborough GreenUp and St. Luke, Peterborough. As discussions progressed, the idea of vegetable gardens for local residents emerged. Peterborough GreenUp, through its Sustainable Urban Neighbourhoods program, was developing links with people in the Curtis Creek area of East City Peterborough.

At the same time, St. Luke’s was forging connections with the local neighbourhood. “We were searching for ways to connect with the local community at a grassroots level, to connect with individuals not currently involved with the parish,” says Lorraine Brown, a churchwarden.

Through the winter of 2018, the co-coordinators of the garden project met at the church with interested neighbours to determine scheduling, garden design, responsibilities of the gardeners, and the role the parish would play. In the spring of 2019, staff from Johnston’s Greenhouses removed the sod on the church lawn to create a series of individual garden plots. A few days later, the neighbourhood gardeners prepared the gardens for planting. As the gardens took shape, Anica James, the neighbourhood coordinator, added a few fruit trees and wildflowers.

Jill McCullough summed it all up. “It has been wonderful being involved from the ground up, from lawn to happy gardeners and now harvest time. Many people walking by comment on what a wonderful thing the church has done with this use of space.”


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