St-Columba by the Lake’s community garden springs to life

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St-Columba by the Lake's community garden springs to life, Rhonda Massad, West Island Blog, West Island News, gardening, garden, community life, St-Columba

To celebrate Earth Day, TD Canada’s Friends of the Environment Foundation donated $15,000 to Pointe-Claire’s St. Columba by the Lake Presbyterian Church’s Food Ministry. The Ministry will use the funds to launch a Community Harvest Garden. In the next few weeks, eight elevated garden beds will be built on the church’s property, and members of the West-Island community will be invited to plant, grow and harvest their own vegetables.

“I am so grateful to TD Canada’s Friends of the Environment Foundation. It would have been impossible to launch the Community Harvest Garden without their support,” says Nadia Prevost, Food Ministry Coordinator. “I already have 300 tomato plant seedlings
ready to be planted. The overall goal of the Food Ministry is to improve food security on the West Island. I can’t wait to see the impact this project will have the community.”

The Community Harvest Garden invites anyone interested in tending a vegetable garden to sign up to reserve a spot (see below for more information). There is room for about 24 gardeners. Elevated garden beds make planting, weeding and watering so much easier for seniors and people with mobility issues.

Violaine Pronovost, Regional Manager of the TD Canada’s Friends of the Environment Foundation, explains that in honor of Canada’s 150th anniversary, the bank is supporting numerous projects from coast-to-coast that focus on connecting people with nature and public green spaces — such as urban greening and projects that encourage outdoor education and play. Each year, the Foundation raises about a million dollars from its customers and employees returning 100 percent of donations to the community.

Gardening courses

The Food Ministry’s community garden is a collaboration with the Bread Basket Lac-St-Louis, which runs community kitchens, provides public education on nutrition and supports various community gardens. The Bread Basket will supply a professional gardener who will spend a few hours a week tending the plants and giving courses on planting, nurturing and harvesting vegetables. The courses are open to anyone wishing to flex their green thumbs this summer in their backyard or balcony garden.

“One of the goals of the Food Ministry is to help end food scarcity on the West Island,” explains Sheila Laursen, vice-president of Bread Basket Lac-St-Louis. “We are helping ensure vulnerable people such as low-income seniors, single parents, and other vulnerable populations have access to affordable, healthy food.”

“Everyone assumes residents of the West Island are well-off, but this is far from reality,” says Cynthia Homan, a Food Ministry volunteer. “We are helping ensure those struggling to make ends meet have access to low-cost, nutritious food. This is one way we, as members of the West-Island community, can make a big difference in people’s
lives.”

Urgent call for volunteers

St-Columba’s Food Ministry runs various programs including a Window Marché where people can drop by every Friday to purchase homemade meals and desserts including scones, chicken pot pie and shepherd’s pie at reasonable prices. They also host a monthly luncheon at a nearby residence for low-income seniors, and on the first Friday of every month, they organize a community dinner. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy a nutritious meal and great company.

To find out more about the Food Ministry’s activities go to www.stcolumba.ca or follow the Food Ministry on Facebook at St-Columbas-Food-Ministry.

All of these activities would be impossible without the support of volunteers. The Food Ministry urgently needs volunteers willing to spend a few hours each month working in the kitchen, serving food, setting up for meals and a whole host of other activities. If you are interested, please email your name, phone number, and availabilities to volunteer@stcolumba.ca.

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