by Sophie Mihevc
Summer maintenance is often seen as a barrier to school garden success, and the reason why so many struggle to flourish. Here at Green Thumbs, however, summer is an exciting and abundant season, thanks to our dedicated team of summer staff and wonderful community partners. Now that gardens have been put to bed for the winter, we want to highlight some of our community partner organizations that helped make our gardens engaging summer destinations:
We had so much fun with our office neighbours Square Circle, merging our Urban Roots Youth with their Social Circus program to make “Square Roots!” Their summer campers joined us at Winchester Garden for the second summer in a row, learning all about garden maintenance and garden fun! Favourite activities included planting trees from seed, growing pea shoots, worm bins and composting, garden scavenger hunts and sampling red currants.
We were also joined in the gardens by another Daniels Spectrum neighbour, Youth Enrichment Academy. Serving middle schoolers in Regent Park, we welcomed YEA campers and staff back into the gardens this year for fun-filled afternoons of planting, composting, tea making, edible-flower tasting and berry picking.
On Thursday evenings we welcomed kids and parents from The Corner, a community and service hub in St. James Town for a weekly family drop-in. Together we enjoyed the cool garden space, helped with watering and weeding, and took home some delicious harvest! Favourites included lemon balm, garlic, cucumbers, tomatoes, ground cherries, kale, and red currants (can you tell our red currant and raspberry bushes are a summer favourite?)
Thanks to these amazing community groups, our energetic staff and passionate volunteers, our gardens continue to be growing, thriving spaces all year round!