London-Middlesex has a number of members that not only spend numerous hours each year helping home gardeners and the general public at various events, but also find the time to contribute both their expertise and handiwork to a wide assortment of activities throughout the area.
Nancy Abra has spent the past four years working with the Growing Chefs Ontario classroom program, a non-profit organization designed to get kids excited about growing and eating healthy food. Volunteers visit kindergarten to grade 3 classes to talk about different seeds, discuss various vegetables and help the children plant a windowsill garden for their class. The students learn how to make salad dressing and when it’s harvest time, get to taste the fruits of their labour. This is a remarkable program, connecting children with good, local food while giving them a hands-on experience. (www.growingchefsontario.ca)
|Stage Door Garden|
Krys Anton and Tony Rudd worked on similar projects – both planting pollinator gardens at local churches. Funded by the Julia Hunter Fund, an endowed fund through the London Community Foundation that supports the creation of public gardens both Krys and Tony took up the task of planting native gardens to help encourage pollinators to visit. Tony explains, “Pollinators are attracted to flowers with the expectation of being able to feed on the flower’s pollen and nectar. In return, the pollen is spread to other needed plants. The purpose of this program is to make the public aware of the plight of pollinators in our environment.”
Donna Slater and Kim Pawley are involved with Middlesex Centre’s Growing Communities 'program. The purpose is to help beautify the natural areas, residential, business and town centres. Individuals, groups and businesses are invited to complete a special project by planting flowerbeds or container gardens, creating new gardens, planting trees or designing other outdoor features. A sign is provided to explain the project and the participants (groups or service clubs) are able to have their logo included.
Amy Turnbull, also a member of the Ingersoll Horticultural Society has created a teaching garden. Here, community members and those on food assistance programs are educated on how to grow their own vegetables. This year’s harvest included peas, beans, chard, turnips, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, popcorn, potatoes, squash and onions. The participants get to keep all their harvest too. According to Amy, “It's been great. The participants are bonding and enjoying the social aspect as much as the gardening that we do!”
LMMG members have found that working with like-minded community groups helps us understand our community better and also helps the community understand who we are, and what we do. A win-win situation.