We envision a community empowered by working together in the Urban Community Hub where solutions to the issues of food security, housing, employment and, poverty are embraced as a team.
To engage the citizens of South Etobicoke in community building and resolving issues regarding food security, unemployment, and poverty by creating Urban Farm Pods and community hub to provide food, housing, education, and employment in the field of urban agriculture.
The Green Artisan Retailers & Designers Environmental Networking Space (GARDENS) Advisory Council (GAC) is an umbrella group of individuals and groups from Ward 3 committed to the provision and maintenance of community gardens in South Etobicoke.
The GARDENS Advisory Council operates in collaboration with LAMP Community Health Centre to assist in creating an Urban Agricultural Framework for South Etobicoke, a newly defined Urban Priority Area in the City of Toronto. The primary aim is food security support for low-income earners, lone-parent families, seniors, people living on fixed-incomes, and people with disabilities living in the area.
The GAC also seeks to enhance the community with gathering, educational, and employment space that promotes:
partnerships within the community and perhaps beyond;
education opportunities as related to urban gardening, ecology, nutrition;
research, experimentation, and innovation in garden technologies, land reclamation, water conservation, clean energy that supports sustainability;
retail, and other employment possibilities; and
a working model for land and facility reclamation/redemption.
In 2015, The GARDENS partnered with Humber College and its Summer Intensive Studio Program. This interdisciplinary team of students researched and designed an urban farm and community hub model that would address our concerns about environmental and food security issues in South Etobicoke. They designed functional creative spaces that emphasized social, economic, and environmental considerations.
The GARDENS Pod Sites are located in Adobigok, known as “Place of the Alders” in the Ojibwe Anishinaabe language. The land on which they are built is uniquely situated along GabeKanang Ziibi, the Humber River, providing an integral connection for Indigenous peoples between the northern shore of Lake Ontario and the Lake Simcoe Georgian Bay region. In honouring the land, we are walking in the moccasin tracks of our ancestors and leaving our footprints for the future generations to come.
- Shelley Charles, Former Humber College Elder