Gardens Grow Green Communities


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It has been our experience that a garden always gives back more than it receives. At House of Friendship this becomes clearer each spring as different communities and people connected to us start coming together to plan, to plant, to work and to celebrate. So many things come sprouting up from the gardens beside the vegetables: friendships, inclusion, new skills, laughter, stronger neighbourhood connections, healthier minds and bodies.

Giving Back on Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, celebrated around the world as a time to give back to the natural world around us and to promote greater environmental protection. It is one small way to give back to the world around us and to start up conversations about how we can continue to work towards greater stewardship of the environment- not just on Earth Day, but all year long.

At Supportive Housing, tenants from all building will be participating in a neighbourhood clean up, picking up litter from the winter season and envisioning their space for the upcoming garden season.

At Food Hampers we have already scoured the property and surrounding neighbourhood of garbage previously hidden by the snow and carried around by the ploughs. We were able to fill our composters and yard waste bin with leaves and the remainder of last years garden plants. Making space for new growth and returning nutrients to the soil.

Tending to garden spaces is just one way to become greater stewarts of the land, and the mutual benefits are many.

At our four community centres neighbours tend their plots and celebrate their unique traditions and heritage. And now, at Supportive Housing we begin a third season of growing a greener community.

Celebrating Beautiful, Vibrant Gardens

A relatively recent newcomer to the urban gardening scene, our garden at Supportive Housing is entering it’s third season. Each year it continues to change and evolve and this one will be no different!

Both seasons have been possible because of the Community Environmental Fund through the Region of Waterloo and we are so grateful for their support to help us create beautiful, vibrant gardens and garden programming. We have also had support from the wider community and love to share the gardens with our neighbours!Garden photos from cell 001 - Copy (2)


In 2013, the Urban Greening Project focused on garden spaces at one our our Supportive Housing buildings, Eby Village. The next year, we expanded the program to all three supportive housing sites, implementing various styles of garden and green spaces at Charles Village and Cramer House while continuing to garden at Eby Village. This shift encouraged tenants of all buildings to work together in pursuit of common interests and goals.

Support Community Connections

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In one of the four communities House of Friendship jointly supports, Sunnydale, gardens have a long and rich history. This garden attracts a diverse group of people with many different backgrounds. The language of gardening helps to overcome any communication barriers. Linda shares that “Working together to plant and nurture seeds, literally and figuratively, the goal of the garden is to produce healthy food and healthy community relationships.”

Tree Planting

Invest In The Local Urban Food Networks

“I am not very green thumbed, but learning new things is always fun, and a good time for socializing too!” – Supportive Housing Tenant

Garden projects big and small are all a hugely important part of a reviving appreciation of the key role urban spaces play in connecting people back to nature, turning unused, or underused land to vital, productive, green and beautiful environments.Garden photos from cell 018

Will you help us invest in another year of lush, green urban spaces?

You can be a part of the story by volunteering with our community and helping build on the efforts of many years spreading roots in the community.

How to get in touch

If you have gardening expertise to share (or an interest in getting some) or have something to donate please contact Matt at 519-570-3976 or or send us a tweet @HOF_housing

Not sure how you would like to help, or interested in learning more? Stay tuned to this space each day this week as we shed some sunlight on different ways you can make a difference and make this region a little greener and more inclusive!

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2 Responses to “Gardens Grow Green Communities”

  1. Gardens Grow Volunteer Engagement | Hofemergencyfoodassistance's Blog Says:

    […] you like to be a part of this story and join Marlene and the people like her that make a greener, more connected, […]

  2. guelphstreetgarden Says:

    Reblogged this on Guelph Street Garden and commented:
    This is a great series of blogs about community gardens from the House of Friendship Emergency Food Hamper Assistance program. Every community garden can learn something about how these dedicated gardeners work together!

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