The SEED is a proud partner in Shelldale Farm Park. In 2021, we embarked on this multi- year project, starting with the rehabilitation of the community garden and kitchen at 20 Shelldale Cres. With lots of activity in both garden and kitchen, and tons of community engagement, the impact in just one year was enormous! We are so excited to see what lies ahead.
Shelldale Farm Park’s goals are…
- create opportunity for people of diverse cultures in Onward Willow to have access to nutritious food
- work together to share food skills (like growing and cooking)
- build community resiliency and social integration.
Partnership and Community Leadership
Shelldale Farm Park co-creates its strategy directly with community members. This ensures that the program best meets the needs of the community as determined by the community.
The SEED implements Shelldale Farm Park with Onward Willow residents and amazing partner organizations:
- Everdale not-for-profit community farm
- Shelldale Family Gateway
- Kindle Communities Inc
- The City of Guelph, Our Food Future (Donor).
Impact on Food Security
A survey of all community gardeners reported that they harvested good quality produce in quantities that helped to satisfy up to more than two months of their family’s need for fresh food!
85% of gardeners strongly agreed that food from their gardens had a positive impact on them and their family through:
- improved nutrition
- a greater interest in fresh food
- less money spent on fresh food
- increased capacity to grow food on their own.
The Upcycle Kitchen moved to Shelldale Farm Park from another temporary location, which allowed local community members to volunteer. This further engaged a diverse group of people. Volunteers, along with youth employees, used fresh herbs and vegetables produced in the community garden to make delicious, nutritious meals and soups for the community.
Our end-of-season survey showed that community gardeners felt more connected to community.
- 85% enjoyed learning more about gardening
- 81% enjoyed growing food from their culture
- 78% saved money on groceries
- 70% enjoyed outdoor activities for their children and spending time with friends and family
I am happy in the community garden because we plant natural organic food that we love to eat such as beans, mustard, Chili paper and Callaloo. We grow special flowers that are popular back home in Nepal. The farm gives us a chance to gather as families. It is a chance for us to meet different people from different countries and learn about cultures and share fresh food with others. My wife, Ran, my son, Mon, and I would love to be part of this project next year.Ram, Community Gardener
A story from Omelnisaa, Project Coordinator
“One participant, around 70 years old, is Deaf, is living with her daughter, and her daughter is working. Most of the time she feels lonely. She got a raised bed at the Shelldale community garden, and planted different foods especially the food from her culture and home country.
I used to meet with her when she came to the garden. At first she was quiet and would come alone. Gradually, she started to move around the garden to interact with others. After approximately one month, I saw that she was coming with another person from the same country. She started thanking the project team with different body language whenever in the garden.
One day I gave her some seeds- she planted them, and she left. Around half an hour later, she came back with a fellow gardener. She had wanted to inform her about the seed offer! At that moment I felt confident that the SFP project created stronger social connectivity and community resilience.
By the end of the season, the woman attended the Harvest Celebration day at Everdale (she was active and happy all day). She was laughing, and wanted to tell us about her happiness when she is in the garden.”
This is just one of many stories from last year at Shelldale Farm Park. We can’t wait to get cooking, planting and building community again this year! To get involved in Shelldale Farm Park in 2022, you can participate, volunteer or donate!