Oshawa’s Urban Farm Tour August 21, 2016

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Do you love good food? Gardening? Community spirit?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then you should come out on August 21, 2016, to Oshawa’s 3rd annual Urban Farm tour. Put on by local non-profit group We Grow Food the tour provides a unique opportunity to visit two dozen of Oshawa’s most interesting vegetable gardens, and meet the urban farmers who tend them. You’ll enjoy an insider’s look at the gardens, have the opportunity to ask them questions first-hand, and see how Oshawa residents are making use of local urban spaces to grow their own food.

This year’s tour offers a wide variety of garden styles. If you’re interested in balcony gardening, you can visit Bill’s rooftop garden – a 600 square foot oasis that makes use of a homemade pulley system!  There are also several shared community gardens which have been installed on land provided by the City of Oshawa, and carefully tended by nearby residents. And this year, the tour will include the heritage garden at the Oshawa Community Museum and Durham College’s Centre for Food.

The tour runs from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm (rain or shine) and will be followed afterwards by a Harvest Feast at Memorial Park in downtown Oshawa. All of the fresh produce for the feast will be provided by the Farm Tour gardeners and other local farmers, and there will be live music to enjoy as well.

The Tour is hosted by We Grow Food, a local grassroots organization that’s been busy over the past few years installing new vegetable gardens throughout the city. Started by Carol Cavallari in the fall of 2013, the group aims to foster community growth through the shared experience of growing food.  The group – comprised entirely of volunteers and funded by donations from local businesses and residents – has put in over 30 gardens throughout Oshawa, approximately half of which are open to the public.

Two of the largest projects to date include the Pepper Patch Community Garden, located on city-donated land at the corner of John and Albert, and the South Patch, found in Cordova Park in south Oshawa. These garden projects brought together neighbourhood residents and volunteers from across the city to create vibrant community spaces where healthy food is grown, harvested, and shared by local neighbours.

We Grow Food’s latest project is an exciting one – a new garden to be installed on Simcoe St N, on the vacant lot just north of Lakeridge Health. A joint project between the hospital, Durham College, and We Grow Food, the newest garden will feature raised beds which can be easily accessed by those with mobility challenges, a passive solar greenhouse and pop-up LivingRoom Art Center, seating, compost, and a water catchment system. This garden will not only provide fresh and healthy produce, but a nurturing, healing, and safe environment which can be utilized by hospital staff and patients, neighbours, and students.  Ground-breaking will take place this fall, and the garden will be up and running next spring. Watch the chalk board at the garden site and FB for upcoming events and details.

For more information, visit We Grow Food, or check out their Facebook page.  In order to buy tickets for the upcoming Urban Farm Tour and Harvest Feast contact Carol at 905-439-2527. Tour maps will also be available for sale the day of the event at Memorial Park in downtown Oshawa.

Article by Leigh Gibbens

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