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Growing Health Community

Green Access promotes environmental awareness and makes the links between community health, capacity building, food sustainability and urban agriculture. In the context of a Community Health Centre, the rooftop garden and Green Access Program are used to support and strengthen health outcomes.

The rooftop garden provides a space to grow, harvest and share organic and affordable foods. Our gardens are used for the teaching and learning of environmental issues and for building skills around growing food and healthy eating. Rather than separate “food” from “environment” we try to understand how the two are inter-connected. Workshops and training have included gardening in small spaces, herbal teas, soil and composting, sprouts, seed saving, and many more topics related to organic gardening, food and the environment.

Green Access programs include weekly garden drop-ins, public events, educational workshops, and volunteer training. We tailor programs and events to meet the needs and interests of participants and groups, whether these are internal to Access Alliance, hub partners, or outside organizations. 

Community Health on the Green Roof

We are proud of our Green Access partnerships and collaborative programs and the many ways they use the garden space. These include:

Social work:

  • Referral of socially isolated clients to the garden volunteer group
  • Use of the outdoor space for group therapy sessions
  • Incorporate fresh ingredients into recipes with cooking groups

Settlement:

  • Referral of volunteers to the garden volunteer group
  • Garden tours
  • Suggestions for culturally specific foods to grow

Women’s and children’s programs:

  • Outdoor fitness programs, e.g., “Moving Moms”
  • English conversation circles in the garden
  • Peer Outreach Workers build awareness of Green Access programs
  • Translation of plant names
  • Use of fresh ingredients in cooking programs and snacks
  • Collaborative development of garden and food program for school-aged children: “Gardening Goodies”
  • Diabetes education

Youth team:

  • Garden tours and planting, harvesting activities for youth drop-in programs
  • Use of the harvest in snacks and cooking with youth
  • Referral of youth volunteers to garden volunteer group
  • Youth participation in garden planning, building compost bins
  • A collaborative program: Youth Environmental Ambassadors
  • Garden tours for the public led by Youth Ambassadors
  • Outdoor artwork with ecological paint

Community development:

  • Collaboration on educational workshops and community events
  • Green Access activities made portable for community events off-site

OEYC-FRP (Ontario Early Years Centre – Family Resource Program):

  • Planting seeds with toddlers and babies
  • Harvesting and taking home the fresh produce
  • EYET staff participate in composting
  • Food preparation in community kitchen collects compost
  • Incorporation of fresh ingredients into recipes for snacks and meals
  • Garden tours