This harvest season, parishioners at St. Thomas the Apostle in Ottawa may be marvelling at how things have grown around their church.
This past summer was the second year the church hosted a community garden on its property. About half the plots are tended by St. Thomas parishioners who volunteer their time to grow fresh produce for the food bank. The other half of the plots are privately held by people in the neighbourhood. “We don’t charge them for the plots, but we require that they give 10% of what they grow to the food bank,” explains Derwyn Sangster, chair of the parish stewardship committee. “They are quite happy to do it. Some of them give a lot more than 10% because they find they are growing more than their family can eat.”
The food bank loves it when we turn up, he adds. “We have had a long-standing association with the food bank, so moving to the community garden last year was a natural extension of our interest in the food bank. ….It’s fun, and we’ve made some good friends.”
They added new friends again this year. The community garden caught the eye of people who were looking for a location for an Alta Vista Community Farmers Market. “They got in touch with us, and we now have had a farmer’s market operating every Saturday since the end of June, right on the front lawn of the church beside the community garden.”