Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Piloting The Great Bean Project

This past growing season, PACT Grow to Learn teamed up with several community and church groups across the GTA to pilot The Great Bean Project, designed to allow first time gardeners and small community groups to try their hand at small scale bean-garden plots. We chose beans (and peas!) because they typically are quite easy to grow, and also because they grow vertically, therefore taking up less ground space while still producing a TON of yummy organic vegetables :) (1 square foot can produce up to 10 lbs of beans/peas!)

The best part is that all the beans and peas produced in the gardens will go directly to local foodbanks and to the volunteers. Foodbanks are notoriously low on fresh produce, so to spread the access of local organic food throughout the GTA, even through small scale gardening, is a big step up from what we're seeing at foodbanks currently, as outlined in this Grid article from 2012.

Our initial thought was to have schools and community groups find areas of unused or under used fence lines on their properties and grow the beans up the fences, as they would act as an already-existing trellis. However, for our Pilot, many of our participating groups: Morningside High Park Presbyterian, Islington United, Eglington St. George United and Jeremiah Community, made their own trellises, which works just fine too!

Below are some photos from our pilot projects, showcasing the success of the participating gardens and helping us to work out the kinks in the project to help its success in the 2015 season!

How the project works/How to get Involved: 

Interested groups can contact the GTL team, and we will send out a Great Bean Project kit, which includes beans and or peas (season dependant: peas prefer spring and fall plantings, beans like the summer!), as well as an irrigation kit if needed, and an info package with everything you'll need to know to get growing!

Throughout the season, your group will be responsible for entering in the amount of pounds you've harvested in an online database, where you can also see how other groups are doing with their harvests!

Your group will be sent tips and recipes and photo inspirations throughout the season, and
at the end of the year/growing season, we will send out a final update with total beans harvested, uniting all participants efforts and showcasing how much food can be produced, even on small plots across the city!

Interested?  contact us at pactgrowtolearn@gmail.com

 to find out how to get your hands on a kit! 

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