Riverdale Meadow Community Garden



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This is general information based on individual research and personal experience.

All content is copyright (c) Kyla Dixon-Muir, Toronto ON; 2010.

Do not lift this information for any purpose without prior written consent; a brochure containing this and more is available on request.

How Community Gardens Operate

Every garden has to work within the bounds of the government or private body that regulates the framework under which that garden is allowed to exist. Some grow flowers, some foods, some both; some have only individual plots and no shared areas, while others share the work and the harvests as a communal practice.

For example:

  • Community gardens on Parks Department property are not allowed to plant fruit trees; (while RMCG, on TDSB land, has several thorny berry bushes and fruit trees.)
  • Community gardens on church property are required to operate according to the codes of each individual church that grants them land. In some cases, these churches are designated as Heritage sites, and must follow strict design and appearance practices in accordance with that governmental body’s regulations.
  • Some community gardens are on private property (seniors centers, housing co-ops, community health centers, universities…). Each garden has to operate according the rules of the property owners and board of directors for that specific location. For example, South Riverdale Community Health Centre is a rooftop garden, so access is limited to when the building is staffed.
  • Due to locations (such as Hydro Corridors) some gardens are not accessible throughout the entire year.
  • Some community gardens are attached to Community Recreation Centres (such as Scadding Court) or to Community Food Centres with Food Banks and Community Kitchens, such as The Stop. There, staff are paid to administer programs for a wide range of interests such as greenhouses, apiaries, composting, and needs like mental health and legal counseling.
  • Allotment gardens, which are also city-staffed, operate only from May to October, under rigorous city contracts for gardeners; and those plots are only granted one day each year. As well, those plots are expensive compared to RMCG’s plots, and have no community areas (such as our raspberry patch) to share, so you only have to work on your own plot, and have paid staff to support that, too.

This garden, Riverdale Meadow Community Garden, is the city’s anomaly: being that we are on CALC/TDSB property but not connected to the school’s curriculum nor to any PTA. RMCG’s coordinators answer to the school about security and basic infrastructure. The school is not involved with practical support, funding, or membership issues. We, RMCG, operate within the confines of the original (1993 LRP) contract ; beyond that, the rules and regulations of the garden are based on this garden’s unique location and self-sustainability requirements, in accordance with ACGA contract forms. This, comparatively, is a rigorous garden in which to participate.

Other Gardening Opportunities:

Riverdale has a wealth of community gardens, historical horticultural societies, and more – more than almost any other ward in the city. We hope this list helps you find the best fit.

If our garden, where members must join together to do all the work and development for themselves without formal support is not the best fit for your needs, and abilities, and time commitments, we have, as volunteers, researched to provide this list of other local opportunities.

  • Riverdale Horticultural Society has been around to “Beautify Riverdale” since 1916. They meet on a Wednesday night, monthly, at the Frankland Community Centre. Their focus, as with most Horticultural Societies, is floral horticulture and landscaping more than foods.
  • East York Garden Club, too is horticultural and landscape focused; see their website, and contact info@eygc.ca.
  • Riverdale Farm has gardening clubs, paid staff gardeners, and an affiliation with environmentalist group Bring Back the Don, as well as many other broad community outreach programmes, a wood-fired bake oven, and weekly Farmers’ Market. Their websites are www.toronto.on.ca/parks or www.friendsofriverdalefarm.com 416 / 392-6794.
  • There are gardening programs at Todmorden Mills, too, largely geared to Ontario Native Species and Wildflowers.
  • Evergreen, a national organization that promotes both school gardens and community greening initiatives also has programs such as the local one at the Brickworks.
  • FoodShare and The Stop are funded to support community gardens and individual gardeners via programmes and paid staff and volunteering opportunities.
  • Garden Jane has internships.

Other community gardens in the Riverdale / East York Area:

  • Bain Co-op Community Garden, 100 Bain Avenue (for residents of that housing complex, with some volunteering opportunities)
  • Emily House Community Garden - Pape and Queen (primarily for residents of the shelter)
  • Coxwell and Gerrard CG, (back of 55 Division police station)
  • Francis Beavis Garden – Pape and Gerrard (on the grounds of a seniors building)
  • Blake Boultbee Community Garden - Pape and Gerrard (a youth outreach program for teens)
  • Oakvale Greens Community Garden – Danforth & Greenwood (on an easement of TTC property) see: oakvalegardens.ca
  • South Riverdale Community Health Centre - Queen & Carlaw - rooftop gardens with staff and programmes
  • East York Community Garden – 9 Haldon Avenue, near Woodbine & Cosburn (they have a great website)
  • Thorncliffe Park Community Garden - off Overlea Blvd – currently working to double the number of large plots in their huge garden
  • Green Oasis on Broadview is the newest in this area, having begun in 2008. They are a social collaboration and deal with people who have had difficult lives, and are a well-funded group. See www.greenoasisonbroadview.ca
  • Email tcgn@foodshare.net for information on all the city’s community gardens, and to receive the monthly electronic newsletters.

This is general information based on individual research and personal experience.

All content is copyright (c) Kyla Dixon-Muir, Toronto ON; 2010.

Do not lift this information for any purpose without prior written consent; a brochure containing this and more is available at request.

Given our unique status as the city's least-supported garden, we request that you visit our donations page, and determine what you can donate to us in return for this voluntary guidance. Thank you.

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Content last modified on January 04, 2013, at 04:47 PM EST