Skip to content

New community garden provides for low-income building

‘People are always going to the food bank. Maybe this will (mean) they won’t have to go there as often’

Residents of a low-income building are taking skyrocketing food prices into their own hands by launching a community garden.

Anita Moen lives in the 387 Waterloo Ave complex, a rent gear to income building with 72 units. Everyone in the building, including Moen, is on ODSP, Ontario Works, or Old Age Security pension. 

Most are on ODSP or OW, getting only $900 to $1,150 a month on ODSP or $430 on OW after rent is paid. 

“Groceries are too expensive. No one can afford them,” she said. “A lot of people can’t afford to buy a tomato.” 

So last fall, she and another tenant, Michelle Fitt, approached County of Wellington housing services to build a garden in the back of the building so residents could grow their own food. 

“They were kind enough (to) put in some beds,” Moen said. She and Fitt designed the garden themselves. 

Now, tucked behind the back of the building are three ground-level garden beds and four raised planters for people with walkers and wheelchairs.

It was too late in the season to plant last year, so this will be their first year growing anything. 

Soon the lot will be filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, beans, sweet peas, basil, dill, coriander, chives, oregano, carrots and onions. 

They plan to make an herb garden out of skids along the back wall as well. 

“I’ve never gardened before, so I don’t know if it’s gonna work,” she said. “So if there are people out there that have some kind of advice they could give me, that would be great.” 

People in 387 or neighbouring 411 Waterloo Ave. are welcome to take what they need from the garden. Moen just asks that people help with growing and tending to it. 

Those who can’t physically contribute to the garden can give a donation – as little or much as they would like – to access food. It could be $2 or $20, it doesn't matter. 

“They can still eat their vegetables, that’s not a problem. We’re all going to benefit from this,” she said. 

“There’s a lot of homeless people that walk through the back here as well, so we’ve discussed that too, and said we don’t care who eats it – people gotta eat. If somebody comes by and decides they want a tomato, that’s fine.” 

At least, so long as everyone is respectful of the garden and doesn’t damage it. 

There is no limit on what people can take: they can simply take what they need.

“People are always going to the food bank. Maybe this will (mean) they won’t have to go there as often,” she said. 

Moen is currently looking for donations for the garden, for items like a rain barrel, a 100-foot hose, a composter, extra gardening tools, and something like cattle fencing for plants to climb up. 

For donations (or gardening advice), Moen can be reached at [email protected]