For many of us, summer is a time to celebrate the lush Quebec produce that fills market and grocery store shelves. For people of low-income however, local produce is often much more inaccessible.
At the Mile End Community Mission, we work to reduce the hardship of living in poverty by providing structure, purpose, and meaning for members of our community. Cooking and sharing wholesome meals is a central part of our work – this year alone, the Mission expects to serve over 14,000 meals and fill 10,000 food bags.
We believe that all members of our community should have access to fresh, healthy food. The Mile End Mission often receives donations of packaged and canned goods, which help us to meet the demand for our food program. Fresh produce on the other hand, is harder to come by. This is why, in May 2016, the Mission began planning its very own terrace vegetable garden.
Santropol Roulant, the MacDonald Student-Run Ecological Gardens, and Urban Seedling generously donated close to twenty different varieties of vegetable seedlings. Compost Montreal also supported the effort by donating a large supply of compost. On a beautiful Saturday in early June, a garden team planted the seedlings in large plastic containers, wooden pallets, and empty coffee tins. Student farmers from the MacDonald Gardens also joined in, offering extra hands and valuable insight.
Throughout the summer, our members have increased their enthusiasm and responsibility for the garden. The tasks of watering, pruning, and caring for the garden in other ways have been shared by a few of our members, while the harvest has been enjoyed by all who come through the doors of the Mission for a meal.