Transforming Vacant Land Into a Community Garden
In fall 2018, Crayola Canada entered a land use agreement with the United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes to turn the unused land into a project that benefits the community.
“The United Way has built more than 120 community garden plots in this area,” said Mike Soehner, human resources manager, Crayola Canada. “In the City of Kawartha Lakes, up to 2,100 people — 40 percent of whom are children — use the food bank on a monthly basis. And one in 10 households in the region does not have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.”
Named “Edwin Binney’s Community Garden,” after one of Crayola’s founders, the official groundbreaking was in October and planting in spring 2019. The garden will grow vegetables such as kale, zucchini, summer and winter squash, spinach, beets and cabbage, as well as native plants, shrubs and flowers.
Crayola has also tended a community garden in Easton, Pennsylvania, at its company headquarters since 2011, resulting in approximately 2,000 pounds of produce being donated to the community from 18 different 100-square-foot garden beds.
For the new Canada garden, other community partners include Fleming College Frost Campus, which supplies gardening expertise and offers learning opportunities for students; Bob Mark New Holland, a farm equipment dealer that provides volunteers and equipment; and Hill’s Florist and Greenhouse, which provides gardening expertise.
“This is a great partnership that will provide thousands of pounds of fresh produce for community programs like the Good Food
Box, Collective Kitchens, Meals on Wheels, cooking classes, food banks, food cupboards and school nutrition programs,” explained Soehner.