2022 Greener Greenspace Profile
Food for Home = Food From Home Urban Farm
Located in Guelph, ON, the Food from Home = Food for Home (FFH)² is a community garden is a welcoming community hub with approximately 60 raised gardens, farm beds and a compost system in an open park area nestled between a high school and a health centre.
Design and Process
The Food from Home = Food for Home Urban Farm is a garden in the City of Guelph fostering cultural and biological diversity. Approximately twenty-five growers are involved each growing season, most of whom are newcomers to Canada. Information about the garden is shared through immigrant service agencies and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. The garden is close to a neighbourhood with a high population of immigrants, so gardeners from there can walk or easily take public transport to the garden site. To make the garden welcoming and inclusive, the garden features a sitting area close to shade trees and a collection of country flags representing the home countries of the garden members.
Vegetables, herbs and vines are grown in large tubs and other raised beds. The gardeners select what to grow based on their preferences, cultural traditions and what grows well. At the start of the growing season, the garden coordinators ask what would be of interest to grow and then they source seeds from various companies that specialize in foods from different parts of the world. Only organic, biodynamic and permaculture practices are used, and there’s a well-used two-bin compost system on-site to cycle nutrients and reduce waste. Absolutely everything that is grown on site is composted and goes back into the raised beds to improve soil health and support better plant growth. To support pollinators, all of the bins contain or are surrounded by specially chosen flowering plants.
In 2022, they added a long row of sorghum along the north edge to try out the success of this important grain crop, to block the wind, and to create an attractive visual feature for cars and pedestrians passing along the north side of the urban farm site.
The garden functions as an open collective with members of all ages, and from all parts of the world, who express an interest in growing food but do not currently have access to arable land, a supportive community, tools or the money to start a garden.
Two garden coordinators are on-site two days a week and act as ‘agriculture coaches’ to support people to succeed in growing food and other activities such as saving seeds. The coordinators are attentive to the systemic barriers people face in accessing a community garden space to grow food and participate in community events. The coordinators actively work to mitigate these barriers and create a welcoming environment. Children are encouraged to participate in gardening activities. Learning from each other and sharing knowledge is a large part of this gardening initiative. For example, one of the garden's founders has led workshops on flowering plants and the role of pollinators. Throughout the growing season, gardeners share the responsibility of watering. A potluck is held at the end of the year to share food and recipes and enjoy socializing at the beautiful site.
The purpose of the garden is not only to reduce food insecurity by growing healthy, organic food, but it accomplishes other goals shared by the City of Guelph: to animate parks and green space, reduce food waste and provide opportunities for community members to connect.
The garden is a 3-year urban agriculture project funded by the “Our Food Future” megaproject. SOUL recognized the garden as a Greener Greenspace in 2021 and 2022.
For more information, visit the Art of Soil Collective website and check out the virtual tour.
Virtual tour of Food from Home = Food for Home
Presented by Karen Houle
Greener Greenspaces is a recognition program for sites from across Canada that exemplify greener greenspace stewardship. The aim of the program is to showcase examples of ecologically-focused land care as a means to inspire others and to further the movement across Canada.See the full list of 2022 recognition recipients here