Get Growing Hunt ClubJun 25, 2020 - By Christine Johnson
An idea was planted. Like a seed, it germinated and grew. And a project was born. It rolled out right here, within the geographical boundaries of our Hunt Club community, between May 4 and 24, with its visible manifestation on Saturday and Sunday, May 23rd and 24th: GET GROWING HUNT CLUB.
So, just what was the genesis of this project?
Barb Shea proposed an initiative to help address food security needs in our community which was passed at the May 4th Hunt Club Community Association (HCCA) board meeting. The idea was to provide kits with a small vegetable plant and a package of seeds to as many residents as possible to encourage self-sufficiency by learning how to grow one’s own vegetables. Seed money of $250 from the HCCA, matched by Councillor Brockington, plus two anonymous donations of $100 each, launched the project. Using Zoom meetings, HCCA Director Barb Shea pulled together a planning team and volunteers and an action plan with tight timelines, identified responsibilities and specific targets. In the space of two weeks:
- A project logo, posters, communications pieces and the Get Growing kit handout were designed by Kat Gracie and Jason Dubue (co-founders of BWYL Group) with the OSEAN group contributing the educational component of the gardening handout
- Andrea Ward, Assistant to Councillor Brockington, coordinated the printing of the posters, communication pieces and the Get Growing kit handout
- A team of volunteers distributed posters around the neighbourhood encouraging residents to contact the HCCA Get Growing team through email or Facebook. Thanks to Lorraine Busby, Christine Johnson, Jason Dubue and Kat Gracie
- www.hunt-club.ca/getgrowing was created through the efforts of Brian Wade (President, HCCA) and BWYL Group and then promoted on the HCCA Facebook page to allow residents to register online for a free seed/seedling starter kit
- Barb Shea and Tania Mushka successfully identified our five other wonderful sponsors, who either donated the seed, seedling plants or provided a significant discount towards their purchase. Thank you to Greta’s Organic Gardens, Gaia Organic Seeds, Lee Valley Tools, Artistic Landscape Designs, and Green Thumb Garden Centre.
- Seeds and plants were picked up by Tania and Barb.
- Christine, Lorraine, Barb and friend Caroline bagged and sorted all the products into ‘kits’ with one small plant, one seed package and an information sheet about the ‘Get Growing’ initiative along with an additional ad for free Zoom gardening tutorials.
- Manuel Costa volunteered his trailer to take all packages to the delivery points.
- Distribution dates were identified along with five different distribution sites and volunteer helpers for each shift.
- Safety Guidelines were developed to ensure protection from the COVID-19 virus at all distribution sites.
Mother Nature offered perfect weather for both distribution dates. Volunteers handed out the kits at the Ashgrove and Shearwater Community Housing sites on Saturday and at household driveways on Archer Square, Twyford and Pattermead on Sunday. Any remaining kits were delivered locally.
Thank you to Alexis Doyle, Sophie and Pauline Pazur, Lorraine Busby and her husband Len, Christine Johnson, Piero Narducci and his wife Živana, Dianne Nahal, Kat Gracie, Jason Dubue, Barb Shea and her husband Mick and Bert and Millie Beechey, for manning the distribution sites. HCCA President, Brian Wade and Vice President, Sue McCarthy, each came by to show their support. Councillor Brockington also took the time to visit each site with his daughter Katie to show his support and encouragement.
And that was Year 1 of the GET GROWING HUNT CLUB initiative, 450 kits later. We’ll call it ‘the ‘COVID Get Growing Kickoff Year’.
What made this project so unique?
- Residents from across our community participated in it from households in Quinterra-Woods, on and near Uplands Drive at the Riverside, middle and Hunt Club Road ends, to streets at the Airport Parkway end with all kinds of residences in between, this project brought the community together!
- New connections were made with neighbours from all sectors of the socio-economic, cultural, gender and age demographics in our community.
- Conversations, exchanges of gardening tips, laughter, information about each other’s cultures and ‘neck of the woods’ all happened, when residents came to pick up their ‘Get Growing’ kits.
Growing food, growing community is GET GROWING HUNT CLUB. Watch for this initiative on our HCCA Facebook page in March/April 2021 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on our mailing list. Let us know what you’d like to see for next year!