2017 Growing Season Information Session

Think you know all about what’s happening at community gardens in Orillia? Think again! With more gardens around the city, new classes & programs to get everyone from novices to green thumbs involved, and a mix of allotment gardens and communal gardening experiences, community gardening in Orillia has really grown! Find out more at our information session on March 18th at 1pm.

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Orillia Community Gardens Season 9 – January 2017 Newsletter

Orillia Community Gardens (OCG) – January 2017 Newsletter! 

Happy New Year! The countdown to spring is on, and this one will be OCG’s 9th growing season! We would like to thank all our members, supporters, and volunteers for bee-ing so grape. Your enthusiasm, hard work, and patience as we approach the final stage of Incorporation as a Horticultural Society is very mulch appreciated.1396041_10102117042437062_854870633_n

Organizational Update

OCG’s “Acting Board” is berry excited to announce that they’ve completed the challenging process of developing the “Orillia Community Gardens and Horticultural Society Constitution” which will be made available to new and existing members for review beginning Saturday, January 28th, 9:00 a.m. at the Orillia Public Library Farmers Market and during subsequent public events listed below! 

NEW Community Garden Policy + Co-ordinator for the City of Orillia

The City of Orillia has passed a Community Garden Policy which can be viewed here starting on page 33. In the city’s 2017 budget, $10,000 has been allocated to hire a part-time Community Garden Co-ordinator and to our understanding, another $10 000 to support community garden infrastructure. We hope to know more soon, and details will be made available on our Facebook page.

Upcoming Events – “Market in your Calendula”

lakehead-community-garden-winter-2017

Wiigwaas Gitigaan “Birch Garden” Lakehead Winter 20

1. March 18th, Saturday, 1pm,  Orillia Community Gardens 2017 Info Session, @ Orillia Native Women’s Group, 110 Matchedash St. – Are you curious about different gardening opportunities in and around Orillia? Would you like to know more about how you can get growing this season? Join us to hear about all the different options there are for getting your hands in the soil in 2017. Tell the world, bring a friend!

2. April 22nd, Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 7th Annual Orillia Seedy Saturday @ the Orillia  Farmer’s Market & the Orillia Public Library

3. August 26th, Saturday, the 2nd Annual Orillia Food Festival (Volunteers and Organizers wanted for Festival Working Group – contact us or orillia.food.council@gmail.com )

Stay tuned for more upcoming spring events, or visit our events calendar!  If you have a community food related event lettuce know! 


VOLUNTEERING WITH OCG

If you’d like to volunteer – email us w/ subject line “Volunteer” and one of our volunteer coordinators will reply to your request. Specify whether you would like to join either the OCG newsletter and/or OCG Volunteer list. We have a list of volunteer roles and tasks on our website – as well as a lot of other useful information.

FILL OUT OUR COMMUNITY FOOD GROWING INITIATIVE SURVEY
Help us “map” the growth in our Community

We are creating an up to date Map/Directory of Community Gardens / Community Food Growing Initiatives (CFGI) in Orillia & Area (surrounding townships, communities). We have created this voluntary survey  linked here  to assist us in gathering the relevant and appropriate data to publicly profile the diverse and various initiatives in our community. If you are organizing or thinking about organizing a growing initiative please contact us or fill out this survey –

garden-map

Prototype CFGI Map/Directory

https://orilliacommunitygardens.wordpress.com/community-garden-map/ . Did you know there are over 20 unique initiatives in and around Orillia? There may be more – help us map the growth in our community!

FIND AND FOLLOW US ONLINE 

We have a Website https://orilliacommunitygardens.wordpress.com/ ! 

We have a Facebook page (with 431 likes!) featuring gardening tips and updates  www.facebook.com/orilliacommunitygardens  

We have a Facebook group (with 491 members!) join for informative community discussion and event invitations – https://www.facebook.com/groups/67069663352/

We also have a twitter account (with 544 followers!) https://twitter.com/orilliagrows

If you would like to unsubscribe from this newsletter peas reply to orilliacommunitygardens@hotmail.com with subject  “Unsubscribe me”

Seed you soon! 
in SOILidarity, 
Orillia Community Gardens 

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OCG Season 8 – Spring Newsletter

Welcome to Orillia Community Gardens “OCG” Season 8 !

Fallow gardeners, it’s Thyme to Start your Seeds! Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and chives oh my ! We have a strawberry jam – packed newsletter full of exciting updates as we sprout into Spring 2016.

Organizational Update

OCG has an “Acting Board” of 6 individuals steering our membership and organization through a challenging process of incorporation as a Horticultural Society, in order for our long term viability, enabling us to better organize and respond effectively to the growing needs and requests for community food gardens in our hungry community. We really appreciate your patience and support as we evolve and determine our capacities for the coming season. We will alert you to our progress on this front and in thyme for you to join us for the first Annual General Meeting, when confirmed! Once established, we will look for new members to round out our board and to populate a number of diverse committees to support our volunteer initiatives around the community.  If you are interested in forming or joining a committee contact us! We are looking for individuals to help with – garden planning , garden tending, outreach, event planning, social media and communications, education and the seed library program, among other things!

Community Garden Policy for the City of Orillia

We are also eagerly anticipating the release of a draft community garden policy through a process initiated over a year ago by community partners including community gardeners, local public health officials, the Orillia Food Council, along with City officials. We will forward updates on this policy development as it continues. Feel free to contact your city councilor to alert them to this issue and grow their support for a well-funded and resourced community garden program. We have posted our draft recommendations here . Feel free to contact your Mayor and city councilors to ask for their support in adopting our recommendations as proposed – these recommendations were carefully crafted through extensive research over many years of community dialogue and input,  if implemented fully, would place Orillia at the head of community garden pack province-wide. Community gardens are an increasingly valuable public resource that are well-deserving of these modest investments and support.

Upcoming Events

1. April 10th, Sunday, 1-4pm at  St. Davids Church, 133 James St. W, – Spring Meet and Greet Potluck, all welcome!

2. April 23rd, Saturday, 9am-12:30 – 6th Annual Seedy Saturday Orillia @ the Orillia Farmer’s Market . Free seed exchange, seed vendors, kids activities, educational information displays and interactive workshop!

3. TENTATIVE (Please check back for confirmation or contact your councilor) – April 27th, Wednesday, 430-630pm – Tudhope Room @ Orillia City Hall – Open House to Discuss Backyard Hen Bylaw

4. April 30th, Saturday, 1-3pm – Scotts Garden Centre, Coldwater Rd. – Seed Starting for the Grow a Row Program w/ Information Orillia

5. TENTATIVE (Please check back with the Orillia Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market) – May 7th, 8-1pm Orillia Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market Seedy Saturday

VOLUNTEERING WITH OCG

If you’d like to volunteer – email us w/ subject line “Volunteer” and one of our volunteer coordinators will reply to your request. Specify whether you would like to join either the OCG newsletter and or OCG Volunteer list. If you’d like to learn more about growing with OCG this season – join us for our upcoming potluck meet and greet (all welcome, even if you have nothing to share!).  We have a list of volunteer roles and tasks on our website – as well as a lot of other useful information.

FIND AND FOLLOW US ONLINE 

  • We have a Website https://orilliacommunitygardens.wordpress.com/
  • We have a Facebook page (with 377 like!) featuring daily gardening tips and updates – www.facebook.com/orilliacommunitygardens
  • We have a Facebook group (with 478 members!) join for informative community discussion and event invitations – https://www.facebook.com/groups/67069663352/
  •  We also have a twitter account (with 469 followers!) https://twitter.com/orilliagrows

    Seed you soon!
    in SOILidarity,
    Orillia Community Gardens

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    Below is a picture representing some of the spring harvest (dated April 2, 2016), from over-wintered vegetables (red kale, baby cabbage, beets, carrots) in a community garden in Orillia. Nuts to those who say it’s too cold to grow our all our own food year round in the great white north! Not only is it possible – but it’s delicious! 

 

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Thanks for a Grape Season!

Orillia Community Gardens (OCG) celebrates another incredibly successful year thanks to the contributions of countless people and organizations. We have harvested something in nearly every month bringing us closer than ever to our long-term goal of year-round food production. Thank you to the Simcoe County Food Partners Alliance for awarding OCG with a Food and Agriculture Charter Champion Award for “Best Community Garden”.

OCG shared 1100 pounds of fresh produce with The Sharing Place Food Bank this season, estimating equal amounts were harvested on a self-assessed, as needed basis, by people enjoying the gardens. We erected a geodesic dome greenhouse at the community garden atop the hill at Regent Park United Church. Thanks to Steve Appleby for donating this masterful piece of woodwork, presently sheltering 9 varieties of cold tolerant plants growing even now with the favourable weather. We built a shed there also to support a cluster of 3 community gardens in the south ward.

Another great success this year has been the involvement of Regent Park Public School students led by teacher Lisa Kent-Ligers. The enthusiastic support of staff and students there has been amazing. Ross McIntyre and Sustainable Schools volunteers provided crucial support in making these sessions a success, as well as other school garden initiatives in Orillia. On the education front, we would also like to acknowledge the Orillia Native Women’s Group, Lakehead University Orillia – Community Garden Project, and the Orillia Food Council for their growing support.bee-thank-you-sign

A special thanks to our on-going partners at Davey Gravel who have helped us for the past 5 seasons by delivering compost, enabling a dramatic increase in production. We’d like to thank Scott’s Garden Centre for hosting the Grow a Row program in the spring and caring for those plants in their greenhouse as well as donating several trays of different plants. Ego’s Nurseries also donated several much appreciated trays of plants and herbs. A big thanks to the Orillia and District Construction Association for donating a $500 gift card for materials to build the shed. And thanks to Home Depot for donating a $1000 card with which we bought a lawnmower as well as materials for the shed. Home Hardware donated delivery of the shed materials as well as 2 blueberry bushes and a pot of dwarf raspberry canes. Thanks to Kevin Gangloff and the Orillia Youth Centre for work in the gardens and behind the scenes. A big thank-you to Foodbanks Canada and Compass Group for grant money which bought many berry bushes, plants, seeds, tools, lumber for a scooter/wheelchair accessible raised bed at St. David’s Anglican-Lutheran Church community garden, as well as materials for a greenhouse we will build next season at a site yet to be determined. And thanks to Christine Hager and The Sharing Place Food Bank for administering this grant. Thanks also to MP Bruce Stanton for donating 2 picnic tables through the Tables By Teens program. We now have a picnic table at the High St Park garden and in the woodlot on the hill at Regent Park United church. Thanks also to Metro Orillia for their donation of extra seeds and the Orillia Public Library for their continued support running the Orillia Seed Library program and making meeting rooms available. Thanks to the City of Orillia and city staff for donating compost and work on various projects, like the development of a community garden policy for the City of Orillia. OCG would like to encourage and remind the public to safely utilize your green bins, and avoid composting toxic or inorganic materials, such as batteries and plastic, which could end up in our food gardens!

Finally, thanks to all others who have contributed in various ways by donating time and labour, plants, seeds, tools, materials and money to make all the produce and services the gardens provide possible. We have a lot of work behind us and a lot more ahead of us. OCG would like to invite the public to visit our website www.orilliacommunitygardens.org or follow us on facebook or twitter, to monitor our progress and learn of ways to participate in growing this worthwhile community endeavour.

Sincerely,
OCG Team

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Community Garden Policy Recommendations – July 2015

– GROWING TOWARDS A COMMUNITY GARDEN POLICY –

We have just forwarded this Community Garden Policy recommendations to the City of Orillia, Recreation Advisory Committee, following a meeting we had with community garden stakeholders about a month ago. We are reposting it here to inform, educate and engage the public in this policy development process. If you have any questions or comments peas post below or email orilliacommunitygardens@hotmail.com.

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Draft Community Garden Policy Recommendations for City of Orillia – July 2015

Part 1.
a) Priority Recommendations
b) Secondary Considerations

Part 2. Requests for Specific Gardens and list of potential sites
Part 3. Proposed Steps for Starting New Community Gardens

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Part 1: a)PRIORITY RECOMMENDATIONS
1. GROW TO PERSON – City of Orillia creates (hires new or assigns internally) a Community Gardens and Allotment Program Coordinator to serve as primary point of contact to work with Community, OCG to create and manage the Community Gardens and Allotment Program.

2. HOW TO START A NEW COMMUNITY GARDEN – City of Orillia creates step by step process (see appendage) for establishing community gardens and allotments in Orillia. City of Orillia facilitates process in a timely manner (within 4 months).

3. ALLOTMENT PROGRAM – City of Orillia creates and operates a distinct allotment program where community members can rent a secure plot to grow. This may include a fee and rental agreement, staffed garden management, fencing and site security.

4. RISKS AND COSTS – City of Orillia assumes liability and upfront infrastructure costs for community gardens and allotments on City of Orillia property. City of Orillia (or Parks Department) creates a dedicated Community Gardens infrastructure budget item (est.. $20, 000 annually), to forecast and cover future upfront Community Gardens and Allotment infrastructure. Unspent money to carry over for future years.

A public Community Gardens granting process be explored to enable the community to best utilize the funds to enhance public space and food security. Infrastructure includes the following elements: storage, shelter, seating, clean and fertile soil (soil tests), fencing (if necessary), signage, landscaping, pathways, accessible raised beds, and water (tanks, catchments, conservation).

5. COMMUNITY GARDEN ANIMATORS – City of Orillia establish Community Garden Animator position(s), providing training and payment for seasonal service. Community Garden Animator job is to promote success and public access by facilitating community gardening, and public participation in planning, planting, tending and sharing in the harvests. Est. 1-2 Community Garden Animators per site, with committed weekly garden open hours. (Est. Minimum 5-10 hours per week, April – Oct) . Focus on employing youth, seniors, and the unemployed. Animators report to Community Garden and Allotment Program Coordinator.

6. MAPPING – City of Orillia engages public in mapping Community Gardens across Orillia, while listing, prioritizing, and designing new garden sites. City of Orillia creates online and hardcopy map (renewed annually) , to be available in print at city cultural sites, and online city website. City of Orillia creates or supports a public/private land registry / land share (YIMBY – Yes in My Backyard) to connect those offering land to grow and those looking for land to grow.

City of Orillia considers classification system, developing criteria for determining suitable and priority sites, including proximity to need or request, to transit, access to water, contamination, competing land uses, risk etc.

7. YEAR ROUND / GREENHOUSES – City of Orillia enables year-round food production and growing opportunities via Community Greenhouse Strategy. This strategy includes year- round public access, educational and recreational programming, supporting a nursery and season extension. City of Orillia looks into preserving and upgrading heritage greenhouses (Leacock Museum, Coochiching Park, HRC, other?) and considers geodesic dome and other creative ecological designs.

8. ZERO WASTE + COMPOSTING – City of Orillia reinstates the “Master Composter” program, working with Waste Diversion and public to reduce organic waste and promote small scale ecological composting, to build the soil and grow healthy food. City of Orillia supports training and provides composting infrastructure (black bins, free compost giveaways and delivery to city sites, City Worm Farm, educational demonstration sites in select Community Gardens in Orillia.) City of Orillia strives to create an innovative community compost program, with a dedicated focus on reducing organics while generating mulch desired quantities of fertile soil.

** City of Orillia considers deconstruction and preservation of materials from city properties for reuse in Community Garden infrastructure, including sign posts, small structures, garden trellises, boxes, fences, etc.. with an eye to reducing both waste and costs.

9. CELEBRATIONS – City of Orillia creates and celebrates annual Community Gardening Day – May 1 – Official Start of Growing Season , date for City of Orillia to turn on Water, deliver soil, final date for opening new gardens, end of sign ups for allotments, etc… Food sharing, gardening action, cultural festivities..

10. SIGNAGE / GUIDE TO GROWING IN ORILLIA – City of Orillia works with Community / OCG to create welcoming, informative signage at City of Orillia Community Garden sites, details on website, recreation posters, brochures and calendars. City of Orillia with Community/OCG creates a hardcopy and digital Guide to Growing in Orillia – which describes all the ways to participate in gardening across the city, including links to resources, seasonal calendar and growing guide, plus invitations to educational and cultural events.

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1. b) 5 Additional Considerations

11. SEEDS + PLANT PROPAGATION – City of Orillia supports Orillia Seed Library program with the Orillia Public Library and Lakehead University, broadening focus to seed growing and saving instruction. City of Orillia enables seed saving on public lands focusing on establishing a local seed stock for conservation and naturalization projects.

12. INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY – Community Gardening is not new to Orillia. City of Orillia makes effort to acknowledge and include contributions from First Nations, early settler/farming families, and newcomers, specifically through the planting of native and heritage varieties and traditional, ecological techniques, and experimenting with new ‘world crops’. Full Moon in June – Annual 3 Sisters Community Gardens Planting Tour, in recognition and honour of First Nations history and culture and growing towards truth and reconciliation.

13. INCENTIVES FOR PRIVATE LANDOWNERS: City of Orillia offers incentives for private landowners to have Community Gardens on their lands, such as tax break, water rebate (with a water conservation plan).

14. INCENTIVES FOR PUBLIC PARTNERS: City of Orillia supports community gardens on other public/institutional lands, such as Schools, churches, housing complexes, etc…

15. GROWING FOR THE FUTURE: City of Orillia explores, adopts and implements the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s document Healthy Community Design for Official Plans, with a particular focus on Food Access. Developing community food and agriculture centers in hand with educational and other public institutions to promote growth in our local food system and economy. In the near future working towards a broader Food & Agriculture Strategy for our City, Region and World. http://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/…/hea…/Healthydesign.aspx

Part 2: REQUESTS FOR SPECIFIC GARDENS and list of other potential sites

HIGH STREET PARK
– Storage
– Picnic Shelter w/rainwater collection
– Annual Compost / Woodchip Donation / Delivery
– Garden themed Mural on back of Brian Orser Arena (with Orillia Youth Centre, artists)
– Sign for park and road front, sign on front of BO arena?
– Bathroom access

SCOUT VALLEY by Regan House

– Updated site plan with 5-10 year outlook
– Fruit trees
– rainwater catchments
– signs
– Art installation
– outdoor oven
– Special events, use of building, interpretive centre for early settler and indigenous culture

JAMES ST Community Gardens and Allotments

– City of Orillia assumes liability
– Water Tank and regular fill-ups
– Compost/Woodchip Donate/Delivery
– Sign
– Fence (partial or 4 allotments)
– Allotment and Community Garden programming
– Greenhouses (temporary)

OTHER SITES
– Orma Park (w/Coochiching PS)
– Cooch Park w/ community greenhouse
– Tudhope Park w/ Mariposa et al
– Lankenwood Park (Andy)
– Clayt French Park (Allotments)
– Hillcrest Park (Allotments)
– Empty lot at Corner of Park St. and Fittons (next to Mariposa Place)
– Bus stops
– HRC – Food+ Agri-Cultural Centre (start 2016/2017)
– ODAS Park – w/ Orillia District Agriculture Society – Educational / Function Food and Ag Hub
– Consideration of food/community growing spaces in all parks and other city lands.
– Consider “micro – garden” program

Part 3: 9 Steps for Starting New Community Gardens

1. “First Contact” – A community group / member will initiate contact with the Community Gardens and Allotment Program Coordinator by sending a formal written request for a specific site, and or identifying potential sites with help from the Community Gardens and Allotment Program Coordinator . (Consider defining ‘group’ as 3 or more people).

2. “Site Review” – [Community Gardens and Allotment Program Coordinator , the Parks Supervisor and/or other staff from the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division] will review the site, ensuring stakeouts for electrical, gas or telephone lines have been carried out, and investigated for title history to determine ownership and other conditions for use.

3. “Community Consultations ” – A ‘garden development’ proposal sign and open invite is erected on site at least 1 month prior to public meeting. Community consultations occur through a public meeting process with the guidance of the Community Gardens and Allotment Program Coordinator , [the Parks Management, and the Ward Councillor]. Minutes and attendance of the meeting will be taken and submitted by the Community Gardens and Allotment Program Coordinator.

4. “Consultative Garden Design” – The groups proposed design will be assessed through a consultative process with the community. The community group will send a list of materials required and a project timeline to the Community Gardens and Allotment Program Coordinator .

5. “Prepare Report” – Reports are prepared by the [Community Gardens and Allotment Program Coordinator ] for review by [ Parks management] . The implementation process must be completed within a 4 month period. *See Report and Implementation process ) – cost and related work, timelines, other issues to notice?

6. “Funding and Resource Assessment” – Financial requirements and sources of funding/materials will be confirmed and approved by the Parks Department . The completed Community Garden Permit and Regulation Form requires the signature of the Director of Parks.

7. “Groundbreaking” – The community group and the Community Gardens and Allotment Program Coordinator will agree on a date to begin work. [Works and Emergency Services] will be notified, if necessary, of the date (May 1 every year?) and resolve any issues with water access.

8. “Ongrowing Support” Community Gardens and Allotment Program Coordinator will provide orientation training on community gardening in the City, as well as on-going advice and technical support.

9. “Bi/Annual Review” Permission to operate the community garden will be granted by the [Parks Branch] and reviewed on an annual (or biannual) basis.

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Creating a Community Garden Policy With & For the City of Orillia – May 14th

“Humankind has not woven the web of life.  We are but one thread within it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.  All things are bound together.  All things connect.”         -Chief Seattle, 1855

Mayor Steve Clarke planting some seeds to help fill out our gardens.

Mayor Steve Clarke planting some seeds to help fill out our gardens.

When we connect, we get things done. Important things, like building the policies and programs that benefit our community and its residents.

On Thursday May 14th, from 5:30-730pm the Orillia FOOD Council in partnership with the Orillia Community Gardens and the City of Orillia, are hosting a free public forum on the Creation of a Community Garden Policy for the City of Orillia. The community is invited and encouraged to attend and learn about the progress between the community and city officials towards promoting and enabling healthy food production.

Below is a request to form a “Community Garden Policy Working Group”

Dear Mayor and Council,

On behalf of Orillia Community Gardens (OCG), following community consultations and recommendations gathered at the Orillia Food Council’s Food Democracy event on February 22nd 2015, we request your support and collaboration in the creation of a “Community Garden Policy Working Group”.
Continue reading the letter to Mayor and Council

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5th Year Anniversary Garden Party!

1396041_10102117042437062_854870633_nSpring is finally here. It’s time to celebrate!  This exciting, all-ages event, in partnership with the Orillia Youth Centre as part of Orillia National Youth Week, is one you won’t want to miss!

Wednesday May 6th 3-6 pm at High Street Park Community Garden (behind Brian Orser Arena)

What’s happening?

  • Planting of garden beds (seeds and tools provided, no experience necessary)
  • Orientation for new gardeners (come prepared to get dirty)
  • Food – zero waste potluck – bring a small, healthy contribution if you can (BYObowls/cutlery)
  • At 5 pm, we’ll pause to hear from long-time community gardeners and local dignitaries as we kick off the new growing season

The weather forecast is looking amazing for our special event, 21 degrees and sunny, so lets all get out, make some new friends, and help grow our community! See you there!

Sign up on Facebook for this event (or just show up, it’s ok).

Learn more about High Street Park Community Garden.

 

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