In June of 2020, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Green Venture launched the Backyard Garden Project. Inspired by the resilience, creativity, and innovation demonstrated by our community, the Backyard Garden Project’s goals were to foster the growing connections with nature and learning new skills being expressed by our community through making gardening as accessible as possible.
Our Grow A Row initiative is part of the larger Grow A Row movement and encourages gardeners of all levels to share what they know and what they grow. Growers commit to planting an extra row of produce in their gardens to later donate to food banks, helping to fight local food insecurity. These urban growing practices encourage the development of sustainable food chains and healthy, independent communities.
In June, early registrants had the opportunity to access sweet potato slips to try growing in their gardens. We shared some sweet potato planting tips and have been learning how to grow this new crop together! In September, the potatoes will be harvested and donated. Special thanks to Branching Path Farms via Brenda Duke who also generously shared a variety of vegetable seedlings for Growers to try planting!
In August, we began our first week of harvest collection! Our donations are to Neighbour to Neighbour Hamilton, who supports 1,200 Hamilton families each month. In our first week, we collected 60.5lbs of fresh garden produce from members of our community. In Week 2, we collected 37 lbs, and in Week 3, 85 lbs, totalling 182.5lbs of food donated in just three weeks! Check out these photos from our first three donations:
September is harvest time! In the garden, plants heave a sigh of relief from summer’s intense sun and let us know they would love help transitioning into cooler temperatures. Backyard gardeners saw no slow down in tomatoes and to date through our Grow A Row, over 300lbs of fresh produce have been donated to Neighbour to Neighbour Hamilton. Amazing!
By connecting with our community, we also had the opportunity to take a virtual visit to a few of our Grower’s backyard gardens. You can find them on our Instagram:
And we were featured in the Hamilton Mountain News! Green Venture is grateful to all of our community members who have participated and contributed to the program. Thanks to everyone for their support and enthusiasm!
As we transition into cooler weather, sweet potatoes will be ready for harvesting.
We can’t wait to see what October brings! Be on the look out for Growing Garlic Tips, you won’t want to miss.
Interested growers can still participate by registering here or by visiting one of our harvest donation drop off-sites on Mondays and Tuesdays.