|Our Focus on Youth summer students working hard|
to weed the strawberry bed.
|Our first cabbage harvest!|
|One of the bigger projects we worked on this summer: creating an area to act as our perennial herb garden.|
|Beautiful colours at our market table!|
I also find this to be a good time for reflection - what worked, what did not, what did I do right, and what could I do better/differently are just some of the questions I start asking myself. This is all made easier because it's so quiet now that our summer students are gone! I can't express how grateful I am for all of their help and everything they taught me throughout their six weeks in the garden. One the side of things we did right: we have had a lot more people participating in our community compost exchange, where community member exchange their food scraps in exchange for market bucks to use at our Friday markets. And on the side of where we can improve: We've got to grow more carrots next year and plant our okra sooner!
On that note, the below are reflections on the season from three of our four Focus on Youth students:
After working for more than 4 weeks, the TCI Garden has been an outstanding experience! I really like how there are certain unique vegetables, even I am not familiar with, until now. Examples include, Arugula, Mustard Green, etc. I also like certain tasks in the garden, mostly stuff like weeding, specifically in the shade, painting signs, changing the main sign for market days, and staying in the market, in general. There are also types of fruits I enjoy at the garden. Mostly it's the strawberries, but due to spring being over, I already miss eating the organic flavour. Although, currants are pretty cool as well, despite it's sour taste. Overall, the TCI garden has been really fun and I am going to miss working there. Thank you to the PACT TCI Garden Managers Liane & Clara, and a HUGE thank you to the FOYT for the job! - Yared
Working at the garden was an exciting new experience for me, especially as my first job. I learned how to weed, take care of plants, and harvest a variety of fruits and vegetables. All while understanding the hard work and effort that farmers do to bring food to stores. Nevertheless, my first task at the garden was weeding. Although disliked by most people, weeding was pretty easy as soon as I learned how to get past the thorns and grab straight to the roots, which cause weeding to be a fast and easy job. Nonetheless, the feeling of completion always created enough content for me to continue to my next task with vigour. In regard to my working preferences, the job I always liked to do when working was selling produce during our weekly market. This was because the market provided a means for me to interact with members of our community and allowed me to see all the produce I worked hard to bear get sold. Due to this and the friendly environment I have while working, I can say, without a doubt, that the garden will continue to be a great place to work for the rest of my time. -Sakariye
Sakariye showing off our first bean harvest
This summer has been unlike any. Working at the TCI garden almost doesn’t feel like work. It’s something very special and intimate. I have always yearned to spend more time in nature. The TCI garden has fulfilled that need of mine. I always find it fascinating when I spot a beautiful butterfly or a cool beetle. Learning where the food we eat comes from and how it grows is a must know! Grocery stores have created this disconnect that does not allow us to truly connect with our food and appreciate it. Planting, maintaining, and harvesting vegetables has made me less wasteful and made me appreciate food even more.
I have learned so much during my time at the garden. I learned about the very crucial process of weeding, tomato pruning, constructing a vegetable bed, marketing, crucial social skills, and much more! I learned how to better connect with people thanks to market days. During market days, I would wave at passing cars or people walking by as I was eager to start a conversation with them. Working at the garden also brought out my inner artist! I worked on a few sign posts and some signs. In my opinion, my art was somewhat beautiful.
Our carrot harvesting expert!
I am so thankful to be working at the TCI garden, with such great colleagues. I have learned so much from the garden managers and my fellow co-workers. I have shared many great conversations. I have encountered many beautiful moments. I would like to thank PACT, my co-workers, and the TDSB for making my summer such a memorable one! - Vedarth
|Some of this year's garlic. We are selling most heads at our Friday market|
and the biggest/best heads of garlic will separated into their cloves
be planted to produce more garlic heads for next year.
Next month, I will try to provide an update in photos of how the season progressed from start to finish.